Leptospira interrogans infects numerous species of wild and domestic animals, usually causing little or no apparent illness, but ranging to highly fatal epidemic disease. Characteristically, the organisms are excreted in their urine, which provides the principal mode of transmission to other hosts. Spots on the ground where urine has been deposited can remain infectious for as long as 2 weeks, while Leptospira in mud or water can survive for several weeks. Warm summer temperatures and neutral or slightly alkaline moist conditions promote survival of the bacteria. Swimming and getting splashed with urine-contaminated water account for many cases. Infected humans usually excrete the organisms for less than a few weeks, but sometimes excretion can continue for many months. Other animals, particularly rodents, often excrete Leptospira for a lifetime.

Nester-Anderson-Roberts: I IV. Infectious Diseases I 25. Genitourinary I I © The McGraw-Hill

Microbiology, A Human Infections Companies, 2003

Perspective, Fourth Edition

638 Chapter 25 Genitourinary Infections

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