Leptospirosis following a major flood in Central Queensland, Australia.Epidemiol Infect. 2013 Mar; 141(3):585-90.EI
Throughout December 2010 and January 2011, Queensland experienced widespread flooding due to unusually protracted and heavy rainfalls. In mid-January 2011, four individuals from a small community in Central Queensland were hospitalized with leptospirosis. A further five cases were subsequently identified from around Central Queensland, bringing the total to nine. Microscopic agglutination testing found that serovar Arborea (Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Arborea) was presumptively responsible for leptospirosis in seven of nine confirmed cases. Serovars Hardjo and Australis were identified in samples from two remaining cases. All cases had exposure to flood water. No single exposure source was identified. This is the first reported outbreak of leptospirosis in Central Queensland and the first report of leptospirosis cases associated with flood water inundation in Queensland. Public health authorities should continue to promote awareness of leptospirosis in flood-affected populations. Healthcare providers must maintain a high level of suspicion for leptospirosis during and after flood events.