Leptospirosis is a zoonotic (transmitted from animals to humans) disease of worldwide distribution that is quite uncommon in Wisconsin. It is caused by several strains of a bacterium called Leptospira. Illness can range from mild to severe. The illness is often characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, chills, myalgias, and headache and may include conjunctivitis, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes. Less frequently, it can result in meningitis, liver and kidney dysfunction, pulmonary involvement, and mental confusion. Severe cases occur more commonly in older persons and can result in death.
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