What is Leptospirosis (Lepto)?
Leptospirosis (Lepto) is a disease
caused by a bacteria called Leptospira
It can infect humans, dogs, rats, mice,
raccoons, skunks, opossums, cows, pigs,
and many other animals. Leptospirosis is
occasionally diagnosed in dogs in LA
here to learn more about Lepto in
How is Lepto transmitted to people/animals?
Infection occurs when
the urine of an infected animal contacts
the eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin of
another animal or person.
Exposure to water or mud contaminated
with urine may also spread it.
In the United States, most human cases
of Lepto occur after recreational
exposure to contaminated lakes or
streams, not from dogs. However,
the bacteria is in the urine of an
infected dog. Therefore a person caring
for a dog with Lepto should wear gloves,
especially when cleaning up urine.
What are symptoms of Lepto?
symptoms look like many other diseases,
and often include fever, lethargy, low
appetite, vomiting, and sometimes
diarrhea. Yellowed mucus membranes and
increased (or decreased) thirst and
urination may be seen.
Lepto causes a wide range of symptoms.
Some infected people may have no
symptoms. Others may have high fever,
severe headache, and muscle aches. In
severe cases, people may have jaundice
(yellow skin and eyes) from liver
failure. Severe disease may also cause
kidney damage and respiratory distress.
What is the treatment for Lepto?
Veterinarians treat infected pets by
administering specific antibiotics that can kill
Most dogs with Lepto are seriously ill,
should be treated in a veterinary
What should I do to protect myself from Lepto?
IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY
Lepto cases appear to
be rising in the past few years
The most common
wildlife reported to be seen in the
yards of dogs with Lepto are:
Between 2005 and 2013, Lepto reports
were received by the Veterinary Public
Health Program (VPH) from local
Starting in 2014, VPH also received
electronic reports of positive Lepto
cases from veterinary diagnostic
laboratories. Therefore, data from 2014
cannot directly compare to earlier data.
The data on this webpage is updated
twice per year.
For more information on the case
definitions used by VPH, visit the
VPH's Surveillance page.
(click for larger image)
Click below for more
information on Lepto data:
Lepto data 2005-2014
- More detail
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Lepto page
the US -
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Lepto
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Acute
Communicable Disease Control (ACDC) Lepto page
2004 - Reemerging Leptospirosis, California
2006 - Canine Leptospirosis, United States, 2002-2004
Leptospirosis Fact Sheet (CDC) -
Last updated: September 22, 2015