What are the symptoms?
After an incubation phase lasting about ten days on average, various symptoms may suddenly appear, depending on the form of the disease. In moderate forms, this may be a high temperature, which is established after a few hours, accompanied by headaches, sometimes conjunctivitis, skin rashes, and often digestive disorders. “Severe forms (icterohemorrhagic or Weil’s disease) combine acute renal failure, neurological disorders (convulsions, coma) and more or less severe bleeding (pulmonary, digestive),” the Pasteur Institute clarifies.
Learn about the disease
In metropolitan France, the annual incidence of leptospirosis is estimated at about 1 case per 100,000 inhabitants. In overseas departments or regions it is 10 to 70 times higher than in mainland France. But the disease surveillance system does not appear to be comprehensive due to possible underreporting of cases.
For the public health of France, this classification of a notifiable disease will allow “better knowledge of the epidemiology of leptospirosis and better monitoring of morbidity and mortality; assess the burden of disease; better characterize risk groups to target public health interventions; to alert travelers and residents of hyperendemic areas of unusual climatic events (cyclone, storm, monsoon, flood)…”.
What is the prevention?
Certain actions may protect against leptospirosis:
when practicing water sports (canyoning, kayaking), wear a protective suit, boots and gloves; avoid swimming in muddy or murky water; avoid walking barefoot or in open sandals on muddy ground, in puddles, still water… protect wounds from contact with water with waterproof dressings.
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