Leptospirosis is a disease associated with human contact with wild and domestic animal urine. A bacterium by the name of Leptospira causes this disease process. This paper is aimed to discuss this disease process incidence and prevalence in the area of southern Illinois, an epidemiological analysis, goals, overview, objectives of Healthy People 2020 for Leptospirosis, and an interventional program plan.
Leptospirosis can be spread by contact with contaminated water or soil from the urine of animals infected with this disease. People can contract the disease by swimming or wading in contaminated water with animal urine or also by having contact with wet soil or plants contaminated with animal urine. This disease may also be transmitted through direct contact with blood, urine, or tissue from the infected animal. It may present with the symptoms of headache, conjunctivitis, muscle aches, chills, high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney or liver problems. Leptospirosis is diagnosed by a blood test that tests the specific antibody and by culture. If this disease is not treated, a person can develop liver failure, meningitis, kidney damage, and respiratory distress. Treatment of choice for Leptospirosis includes erythromycin, streptomycin, penicillin, or tetracycline. On the local level, no research indicates the incidence and prevalence of Leptospirosis in this area. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (n.d.), Leptospirosis is a sporadic disease with only one case reported annually throughout the entire state. The CDC (n.d.) states that around 100-150 cases are identified yearly in the United States, and about 50% of cases are known to occur in Puerto Rico. It is estimated that more than 1 million cases occur throughout the world yearly.
The Pan American Health Organization (n.d.), Leptospirosis morbidity rates range in America from a low of 3.9 per 100,000 population in southern Latin American to a high of 50.7 in the Caribbean. The mortality rates each year worldwide are estimated at 58,900 deaths. The risks for developing Leptospirosis include swimming or wading in freshwater streams, ponds, or lakes while having an open wound or sore, not wearing gloves when disposing of dead animals or cleaning game animals or livestock, and ingesting any water from a stream, pond, or lake water. Goarant (2016) states that people at risk include sewage workers, butchers, hunters, farmers, or veterinarians are at the highest risk due to exposure. Also, those persons that kayak, raft, canyoning, tramping, or other outdoor sports.
Healthy People 2020
Leptospirosis occurs due to an environmental health issue in water quality. The goal of environmental health in Healthy People 2020 is to endorse health for all people through a healthful environment. Environmental health takes part in the prevention and control of disease, injury, and disability concerning the interactions between people and their environment. The focus of the environmental health objectives for Healthy People 2020 includes the following problems with outdoor air quality, surface and groundwater quality, toxic substances, hazardous wastes, homes, and communities, infrastructure, and global health of the environment. The objectives for water quality include to reduce waterborne disease outbreaks, increase the days that beaches are open and safe for swimming and other water activities, and increase the number of persons served underwater systems that receive drinking water that meets safe drinking water act regulations. The National Snapshot for Healthy People 2020 targeted exposure to cadmium, lead, and bisphenol A. For cadmium and lead, 95% of the population a year and over is below the measured level from 2003-04. For bisphenol A, 95% of the community 6 and older are below the level measured in 2003-04.
The CDC recommends the following considerations for those at risk for contracting Leptospirosis: avoiding any soil or water that could be contaminated with animal urine such as floodwaters, lakes, rivers, or swamps, boiling or chemically treating water for safe ingestion, be cautious to cover any cuts or abrasions and wear protective footwear, and also discuss with a healthcare provider prior to planned activities to prevent Leptospirosis. Travelers are at the highest risk for developing this disease due to swimming, wading, kayaking, or rafting in contaminated freshwater. Thus, thorough education should be provided to all patients that are active in these specific types of activities to further prevent infection. To avoid infection leptospirosis in animals, it is imperative to keep rodent issues under control since they carry and spread the bacteria that causes Leptospirosis. It is essential for pets to be vaccinated against this disease.
In conclusion, Leptospirosis is a bacterium that is transmitted by animal urine that can cause serious long-term problems such as liver failure, kidney failure, and meningitis. It can be contracted by wading through contaminated water or ingesting contaminated water. It is not prevalent in the state of Illinois, but nationally, there are around 1 million cases each year. To prevent this from occurring, patients that participate in activities such as kayaking swimming, canyoning, etc.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.). Technical Information for Leptospirosis. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/health_care_workers/index.html
- Goarant, C. (2016). Leptospirosis: risk factors and management challenges in developing countries.
- Illinois Department of Public Health (n.d.). Leptospirosis. Retrieved from: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/leptospirosis
- Pan American Health Organization (n.d.). Zoonoses. Leptospirosis. Retrieved from: https://www.paho.org/salud-en-las-americas-2017/?tag=leptospirosis
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