WEIL’S DISEASE

Weil’s disease is a type of bacterial infection caused by Leptospira bacteria; it is a severe form of leptospirosis. You can acquire the condition when you are in contact with cattle, pigs, dogs, or rats’ urine, blood or tissue that are infected with bacteria. Contaminated soil or water can be the cause of the disease too.

Headache and chills or mild flu-like symptoms can ensue from leptospirosis. It can also cause  severe reactions to organs such as liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, and brain that can ultimately lead to organ failure and death.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms usually appear within 5 to 14 days after being infected by bacteria. Still, it develops sometime within 2 to 30 days after infection with an average of 10 days.

In most leptospirosis cases, the symptoms are mild such as;

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

In rare cases, you might develop Weil’s disease with three days of development of symptoms after milder symptoms of leptospirosis have passed. However, symptoms vary on which organs are infected.

When liver, kidney, and heart are infected, symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen ankles, feet, or hands
  • Swelling of liver
  • Decrease in urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Jaundice

When the brain is infected:

  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Mental instability
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Seizures
  • Uncontrollable movements
  • Inability to speak
  • Lights aversion

When lungs are infected:

  • High fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood

Causes

Weil’s disease is caused by a bacterium called Leptospira. It typically infects farm animals, dogs, and rodents, and humans can be infected through the eyes, mouth, or open cuts by the exposure of:

  • Urine, blood, or tissue from an infected animal
  • Animal saliva when bitten by an animal
  • Contaminated water
  • Contaminated soil

DIAGNOSIS

To successfully diagnose you, the doctor will most likely start by checking your medical history, order blood tests, urine tests or both. They might also ask questions such as:

  • Travel history
  • Participation in any water sports
  • Contact with freshwater source
  • Occupation involving animals or animal products

In the case of Weil’s disease, your doctor may perform scans such as chest X-rays and other tests to confirm your liver and kidney function or to know which other organs might be infected.

TREATMENT

Prevalent cases of leptospirosis do not demand the need for hospitalization because they are mild and self-limiting, which can resolve on their own. But if you are diagnosed with Weil’s disease, the possibility of being confined in a hospital increases. You will likely be prescribed with antibiotics such as penicillin and doxycycline.

Additional treatments may also vary according to which organs are affected, like the use of a ventilator when difficulty of breathing occurs or dialysis in cases when your kidneys are damaged.

For more and accurate information, it is essential to ask your doctor when early symptoms arise directly.

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