Leptospirosis: Stay Informed on this Rare Bacterial Infection

Updated: 9/28/23

Are you concerned about staying up-to-date on the latest in health and wellness? You’re not alone—more of us than ever are investing energy into living a healthy lifestyle. One important, little known issue is leptospirosis, or Weil’s disease. This rare bacterial infection can be serious if not treated promptly and correctly, so it pays to stay informed about this overlooked condition. In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of leptospirosis symptoms, history, high risk individuals and why it’s critical to seek medical attention immediately when signs start appearing. Read on for all the details!

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that affects both animals and humans. It is mostly caused by exposure to contaminated environments, especially in areas exposed to animal urine, such as farms or petting zoos. This disease is underdiagnosed, mainly due to the non-specificity of its symptoms, which are often mistaken for other illnesses like influenza or viral infections. Therefore, it’s crucial to educate yourself about leptospirosis, its causes, symptoms, treatment options, and prevention measures.

Leptospirosis is caused by a type of spiral-shaped bacteria called Leptospira that infects animals and humans. The bacteria thrive in warm and wet environments, making it more common in tropical areas, especially during rainy seasons. Leptospirosis is primarily transmitted through contact with water or soil that has been contaminated with infected animal urine, such as rats, dogs, cattle, and pigs. The bacteria can enter the body through cuts or wounds in the skin or by ingestion of contaminated water or food. People who work or live in rural areas, have outdoor professions, or engage in water sports are at a higher risk of contracting leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is difficult to identify since some individuals show no symptoms at all, and the symptoms that do occur are usually similar to symptoms of other conditions. Failure to treat leptospirosis can lead to kidney failure, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress and death. Symptoms of leptospirosis can vary. A few common ones may include fever, muscle pain, bleeding in lungs, jaundice or chills.

Leptospirosis Symptoms


A chill is a sensation of cold accompanied by convulsive shaking of the body. Chills are commonly associated with leptospirosis. Individuals may also experience fevers; so you get both extremes. Once you do show chills as a symptom in combination with other key symptoms, leptospirosis will most likely be diagnosed.


Headaches are a common affliction worldwide and often have no sinister cause. However, a headache is also a common symptom of leptospirosis. Because headache is a common occurrence, it may be difficult to diagnose leptospirosis based on this symptom alone and should not be a cause for alarm unless in combination with other symptoms.

Muscle Aches

Muscle aches are also highly common for individuals who have leptospirosis. They can vary through different parts of the body and also affect the abdomen. Most commonly, however, muscle aches occur in the calf and lumbar regions. Muscle aches are also commonly associated with conjunctival suffusion, which is a redness of the conjunctiva that looks a lot like conjunctivitis or ‘pink eye’ but does not have the characteristic fluid excretion of that infection.

Symptoms Specific to Wildlife Workers

Leptospirosis is most commonly found in animals, so those who work with animals, such as wildlife workers, are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. If you work with animals, you may experience additional symptoms, including conjunctivitis (pink eye), skin rashes, and swollen lymph nodes. If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to seek medical attention right away.

Other Symptoms and Signs

Leptospirosis has several other common signs and symptoms. Many also refer to it as the “mimic” disease. This is because the symptoms often mimic other diseases such as influenza, meningitis, hepatitis and common viral hemorrhagic diseases. When it comes to leptospirosis, you might also experience coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, a rash or even jaundice. Leptospirosis attacks the immune system, which is why it has such a wide variety of symptoms. It can cause kidney damage and acute renal failure, leading to death, in rare cases.

Is Leptospirosis Vaccine Necessary?

Fortunately, there is a vaccine available for humans and pets to protect against leptospirosis. The leptospirosis vaccine works by introducing a harmless version of the Leptospira bacteria into the body, which then triggers the immune system to produce antibodies that can fight off the disease. By having the vaccine, you’re not only protecting yourself but also reducing the risk of spreading the disease to others.

Many people may think that they don’t need the leptospirosis vaccine because they live in an urban area or don’t have pets. However, the truth is that anyone who comes in contact with soil or water contaminated with infected animal urine is at risk. This can include outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, campers, and even gardeners. Therefore, it’s essential to get vaccinated and make sure your pets are vaccinated as well.

If you’re planning to travel to areas where leptospirosis is prevalent, such as tropical countries or rural areas with high humidity, it’s even more crucial to get the leptospirosis vaccine. These areas have a higher risk of leptospirosis transmission, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Just like any other vaccine, make sure to consult with your doctor first before getting the leptospirosis vaccine to assess if it suits your medical condition.

Leptospirosis Booster Side Effects

Like any vaccine, the leptospirosis booster can cause side effects in some people, although they are usually mild and short-lived. The most common side effects include soreness or redness at the injection site, fever, headache, and fatigue. Some people may also experience joint pain, nausea, or allergic reactions, although these are rare.

Leptospirosis Symptoms

Leptospirosis Causes

Leptospira Bacteria

Leptospira is specifically the bacteria that causes leptospirosis. Although typically mild, it can result in liver or kidney failure as well as several other conditions that can be fatal in themselves. Leptospira inhabit animals’ kidneys and releases in their urine. Such animals may include buffaloes, pigs, bats, sheep, cats, dogs and raccoons, among others. The Leptospira can remain active in water and soil for months, so it is difficult to say when a source is clear or uncontaminated.

Person-to-Person Transmission

It is rare for leptospirosis to spread from person to person, but it can happen in some cases. For example, direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person can lead to infection. Also, organ transplant and blood transfusion recipients can acquire the disease from an infected donor. However, in most cases, the disease spreads through exposure to contaminated water, soil, or animals.

Animal Urine

Animal urine is the agent by which the Leptospira travels. Once the Leptospira is released through the urine, contamination can occur anywhere the urine has been or may be present. This may include in contaminated water or soil and be contracted through open cuts or wounds, the eyes, nose or mouth and less commonly when an individual comes into contact with the blood of an infected animal.

Ingesting Contaminated Food or Water

As mentioned above, any food or water source that may be contaminated with animal urine with the bacteria Leptospira, can cause leptospirosis. Food and water can become easily contaminated, especially in places where health standards are lower. For example, rats can easily contaminate food or water at a restaurant.

Other Causes

Leptospirosis has cases reported worldwide, but is especially common in areas with tropical climates. It is also especially common for individuals who work outdoors with animals, such as farmers, slaughterhouse workers, veterinarians, fish workers and dairy farmers. If you work in any of these fields, it is important to follow the recommended safety precautions at all times.

Leptospirosis Treatment


Antibiotics is the primary method of treatment of leptospirosis. When it comes to leptospirosis, the sooner one takes the antibiotics, the better the chances an individual has for recovery. The most common antibiotics used to treat leptospirosis include doxycycline, azithromycin, and penicillin. These antibiotics are effective in treating leptospirosis, and the duration of treatment depends on the severity of the infection. Intravenous antibiotics may also be necessary if the condition worsens. Otherwise, typical antibiotics have proven to be highly effective.

Supportive Therapy for Leptospirosis Treatment

In addition to antibiotics, supportive therapy to treat the symptoms of leptospirosis. This may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce fever and pain, and intravenous fluids and electrolytes to help rehydrate the body and support kidney function. Supportive therapy can provide relief from the symptoms of leptospirosis and help the body to fight the infection more effectively.

Dialysis for Leptospirosis Treatment

In severe cases of leptospirosis where kidney function is compromised, dialysis may be necessary. Dialysis is a medical procedure that filters the blood to remove excess water, waste products, and toxins from the body. This can help to improve kidney function and prevent further damage to the kidneys. Dialysis requires for a few days to a week or more, depending on the degree of kidney damage and the response to treatment.

Although it is only in a small number of cases, leptospirosis can sometimes require medical attention and hospitalization if the condition worsens. For example, from 1998 to 2009, the number of hospitalizations for leptospirosis was 0.6 per 1,000,000 hospitalizations. One way to decrease hospitalizations and stop the spread of it is by educating health care providers about early detection of leptospirosis.

Is Leptospirosis Curable?

Leptospirosis is a curable disease that manages with proper treatment and prevention measures. Be mindful of the symptoms and take precautions to avoid contact with infected animals and contaminated water sources. If you find yourself exhibiting symptoms of leptospirosis or think you might have exposure, consider getting a test immediately by a healthcare provider. With proper treatment and prevention measures, leptospirosis manages, and patients can fully recover with minimal complications.

Leptospirosis in Dogs

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that affects both humans and animals. It is  a bacterium, Leptospira, in water with contamination and animal urine infections. Dogs most commonly have infections through contact with urine that has infections, either directly or indirectly through soil, food, or water contamination.

Leptospirosis can manifest in different ways, from mild flu-like symptoms to severe kidney or liver damage. Some of the common symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, and muscle pain. If left untreated, the infection can progress, leading to severe health problems such as liver or kidney failure, jaundice, and even death.

Prevention is always better than cure, and the same applies to leptospirosis. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent your dog from getting infections with this bacterium. Firstly, avoid letting your dog drink or swim in contaminated water sources. Keep your backyard clean, and avoid feeding your dog raw or undercooked meat, which can harbor the Leptospira bacteria. Secondly, consider vaccinating your dog against leptospirosis. The vaccine is safe and effective, and it can provide long-term immunity against the disease. Lastly, if you suspect that your dog may have come into contact with infected urine or contaminated water, take her to the vet immediately for testing and treatment.

Supplements for Leptospirosis

It is important to ensure that no supplement interfere with the antibiotics that you have prescriptions for. There are several supplements that can help to support the body in fighting infection, as well as help with symptom alleviation.

To Support Immunity

Leptospirosis specific ‘immune phase’ in which antibodies creates to fight off Leptospira, and remain in the patient’s urine during this time. Thus, taking supplements that boost your immune system can lower the side effects during the immune phase such as muscle pain and fever.


Garlic is capable of boosting immunity. It contains sulfur, which turns into allicin. Allicin is the key compound that gives it its immune-boosting qualities. The recommended dose of garlic is 650 mg daily.


Ginger is another known supplement for immune support. It contains antibacterial agents that can kill certain bacteria. When studied specifically on leptospirosis, ginger is shown to reduce anti-inflammatory cytokines, which helps reduce potential organ damage. The recommended dosage for ginger root is 1,000 mg once daily.

Vitamin D

Most people consider vitamin D the sunshine vitamin, but you can also get it from several of the foods you eat, including eggs, salmon, liver and milk. Vitamin D plays an important roles in bone health, but it has several immune boosting benefits as well. Taking vitamin D for leptospirosis can help to manage symptoms.

For Muscle Aches


Collagen supplements come in pill or powder form and does wonders for the body. It is often prescribed for almost any muscle pain including back and joint pain, so if you’re experiencing any muscle pain with leptospirosis, collagen may help. This is because collagen is a natural part of your major muscle tissue, thus replenishing it when it comes to leptospirosis. The recommended amount of collagen per day is 5 grams or up to 30 grams as described by a doctor for specific conditions.

There are different methods of extraction to fit dietary choices as it can be sourced from different animals — bovine collagen, porcine collagen, chicken based collagen and fish based collagen.


Calcium is yet another important vitamin. It does help build strong bones, but it also helps with muscle aches as well. Research indicates that calcium is actually significantly and positively correlated with non-specific pain and weakening of the muscles, but consuming calcium had massive changes on muscle function and relief.


On the other hand, there is such thing as too much calcium, which may also cause muscle aches in addition to your leptospirosis. Fortunately there is magnesium. Magnesium helps block excess calcium from depositing into your muscles and causing buildup.

For Fever Support

White Willow

White willow is better known as nature’s aspirin. It is a natural pain reliever due to the active ingredient salicin. In fact, white willow bark extract is a natural alternative to aspirin because it works in the same way — reduces inflammation and pain as it enters the bloodstream.


Elderberry is a dark purple berry from the European elder tree. The elderberry has several uses including for the common cold, influenza and swine flu. Specifically, it helps by reducing pain and fever. Elderberry seems to interact with a virus directly to improve the immune system.


Feverfew‘s name is quite fitting. Individuals take feverfew by mouth to reduce fever, headaches and migraines, but what is it? Feverfew comes from a plant. It is a bushy, aromatic Eurasian plant that comes from the daisy family. Feverfew is effective thanks to an ingredient called parthenolide. Parthenolide decrease the factors that cause headaches, migraines and fevers.

The Bottom Line

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection which spreads by contact with urine contamination in soil or water. Making changes to your lifestyle can also help manage leptospirosis. Staying hydrated by drinking enough water is essential to keep the body healthy and help fight the infection. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables can also improve your immune system and help you recover faster. Additionally, avoiding contact with contaminated water or soil can also reduce your risk of contracting the disease.

Preventing leptospirosis is better than treating it. Avoiding contact with contaminated water, soil, and animal urine is key to preventing the disease. This includes wearing appropriate clothing and footwear when outdoors and avoiding swimming in stagnant water. If you work in an environment where you have exposure to the bacteria, make sure to take appropriate safety measures, such as wearing protective clothing and shoes.

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking medications. With proper care and prevention efforts, you can keep yourself healthy and reduce your risk of leptospirosis.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

Author: BulkSupplements Staff