Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo
On-line version ISSN 1678-9946
SCHELOTTO, Felipe et al. A ten-year follow-up of human leptospirosis in Uruguay: an unresolved health problem. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo [online]. 2012, vol.54, n.2, pp.69-76. ISSN 1678-9946. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-46652012000200003.
Leptospira spp. are delicate bacteria that cannot be studied by usual microbiological methods. They cause leptospirosis, a zoonotic disease transmitted to humans through infected urine of wild or domestic animals. We studied the incidence of this disease in the Uruguayan population, its epidemiologic and clinical features, and compared diagnostic techniques. After examining 6,778 suspect cases, we estimated that about 15 infections/100,000 inhabitants occurred yearly, affecting mainly young male rural workers. Awareness about leptospirosis has grown among health professionals, and its lethality has consequently decreased. Bovine infections were probably the principal source of human disease. Rainfall volumes and floods were major factors of varying incidence. Most patients had fever, asthenia, myalgias or cephalalgia, with at least one additional abnormal clinical feature. 30-40% of confirmed cases presented abdominal signs and symptoms, conjunctival suffusion and altered renal or urinary function. Jaundice was more frequent in patients aged > 40 years. Clinical infections followed an acute pattern and their usual outcome was complete recovery. Laboratory diagnosis was based on indirect micro-agglutination standard technique (MAT). Second serum samples were difficult to obtain, often impairing completion of diagnosis. Immunofluorescence was useful as a screening test and for early detection of probable infections.
Keywords : Human leptospirosis; Bovine source; Rainfall; MAT.