Severe pulmonary manifestation of leptospirosis

H. J.F. Helmerhorst, E. N. van Tol, P. R. Tuinman, P. J. de Vries, R. A. Hartskeerl, M. P. Grobusch, J. W. Hovius

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Based on increasing incidence and the occurrence of worldwide outbreaks, leptospirosis is recognised as an emerging zoonosis. Severe manifestations are associated with high morbidity and mortality rates and may therefore pose an important risk to public health, especially in certain high prevalence areas. A considerable number of infections progress to a severe form, which can present as the well-known triad of jaundice, impaired renal function and haemorrhage, known as Weil's disease. The severe pulmonary form of leptospirosis (SPFL) is a less known entity and is characterised by intra-alveolar haemorrhage and can lead to acute respiratory failure and death when adequate treatment fails. Prognostic factors correlating with severity and survival of leptospirosis include indicators of renal failure, pulmonary involvement and electrolyte imbalances. We report an imported case of SPFL in a returning traveller, and review the literature discussing epidemiology, clinical manifestations, prognostic factors and treatment of this resurgent disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalNetherlands Journal of Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012

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