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Fact sheet - Health conditions directory

Leptospirosis is a disease that is caused by a number of different bacteria called Leptospira. Leptospira bacteria have been found in both domestic and wild animals. Humans become infected through contact with water, food, or soil contaminated with urine from infected animals such as rodents. This may happen by;swallowing contaminated food or water, through skin contact (especially if there are skin abrasions), or contact with mucosal surfaces such as the eyes, mouth or nose.

The disease occurs most commonly in people who are exposed to the bacteria through their work, for example farm workers (particularly banana farm workers in north Qld), veterinarians, and meat workers. However cases have been reported from exposure during outdoor activities such as swimming, wading and white-water rafting in rivers, lakes and dams. Cases often increase after flood events.

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    Last updated: 5 June 2023

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