Leptospirosis and Weil's disease in the UK.QJM. 2012 Dec; 105(12):1151-62.QJM
The recent high-profile death of a British Olympic rower from leptospirosis has raised awareness to this uncommon but potentially fatal disease. The re-emergence of the disease abroad is well documented in the literature, but less is known about cases in the UK. The increase in participation in water sports, foreign travel and often a combination of the two, has increased the exposure of tourists subsequently returning to the UK from areas of high prevalence. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic infection. The bacteria are shed in the urine of animals to the environment from where humans are infected by incidental hosts. There is a wide spectrum of severity of symptoms, from a self-limiting febrile illness to fatal pulmonary haemorrhage, renal or liver failure. It is thought that cases remain unrecognized every year in the UK, largely due to the mild nature of symptoms and the wide differential for febrile illness and partly due to lack of awareness among clinicians. This review examines the epidemiology of leptospirosis in the UK, over the period 2006-10, the clinical features, diagnostic techniques and treatment.