Leptospirosis in pregnancy
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- Puliyath, G. & Singh, S. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis (2012) 31: 2491. doi:10.1007/s10096-012-1625-7
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Leptospirosis is a direct zoonotic disease caused by spirochetes belonging to the genus Leptospira. Many animals act as carriers or vectors. Human infection results from accidental contact with carrier animals or environment contaminated with animal urine containing the organism. Epidemics of leptospirosis result from poor sanitation in urban areas and are aggravated following natural calamities. The majority of leptospiral infections are either subclinical or result in very mild illness and patients recover without complications. In a few cases it may manifest as multiorgan failure where the mortality can go up to 40%. Infection in pregnant women may be grave leading to severe fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality. The presentation may mimic other viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, acute fatty liver, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and HELLP syndrome. Owing to the unusual presentation, leptospirosis in pregnancy is often misdiagnosed and under-reported. Preventive public education regarding hygiene, personal practices, source reduction, environmental sanitation, early diagnosis, and treatment of the condition are needed to avoid perinatal and maternal mortality.