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LEPTOSPIROSIS

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LEPTOSPIROSIS

CONTEXT:

  • Recently, the city of mumbai witnessed its first suspected leptospirosis death.

ABOUT LEPTOSPIROSIS:

  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals.
  • It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira.
  • The carriers of the disease can be either wild or domestic animals, including rodents, cattle, pigs, and dogs.
  • The cycle of disease transmission begins with the shedding of leptospira, usually in the urine of infected animals.
  • In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases.
  • High fever, headache, bleeding, muscle pain, chills, red eyes and vomiting are some symptoms.
  • Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.
  • Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.
  • The number of cases of leptospirosis is directly related to the amount of rainfall, making the disease seasonal in temperate climates and year-round in tropical climates.
  • Poor housing and inadequate sanitation also increase the risk of infection.

TRANSMISSION OF DISEASE:

  • Infected animals may continue to excrete the bacteria into the environment continuously or every once in a while for a few months up to several years.

Humans can become infected through:

  • Contact with urine (or other body fluids, except saliva) from infected animals.
  • Contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.
  • The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch.
  • Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection.
  • Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters.
  • Person to person transmission is rare.

PREVENTION FROM LEPTOSPIROSIS:

  • Preventing leptospirosis requires appropriate and adequate health education, community health empowerment, and preventive habits.
  • Rates of leptospirosis can be reduced by improving housing, infrastructure, and sanitation standards.
  • Leptospirosis control can benefit from a ‘One Health’ approach.
  • ‘One Health’ is an interdisciplinary approach that recognises the interconnections between the health of humans, animals, plants, and their shared environment.
  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by people who have a high risk of occupational exposure can prevent leptospirosis infections in most cases.
  • Rodent abatement efforts and flood mitigation projects can also help to prevent it.
  • There is no human vaccine suitable for worldwide use.

SYLLABUS: PRELIMS, MAINS, GS-3, HEALTH & DISEASES

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