The number of cases of the bacterial infection, leptospirosis are up year-to-date in Sri Lanka, according to official data.

From January 1 through April 30, the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health have reported 1464 cases, including 12 deaths.

This compares to 1294 cases reported during the same period in 2018.

Regional departments reporting the most cases this year include Ratnapura (259), Kalutara (205) and Galle (122). The capital of Colombo has seen 70 leptospirosis cases.

Leptospirosis is a disease spread by animal urine. People get infected when they come in contact with urine of infected animals or with urine-contaminated water, soil, or food.


Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, stomach pain, diarrhea, and rarely, a rash. This disease can be deadly and in the more severe cases can cause kidney or liver failure, meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain), or bleeding in the lungs.

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Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the risk of acquiring leptospirosis can be greatly reduced by not swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine, or eliminating contact with potentially infected animals.

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Protective clothing or footwear should be worn by those exposed to contaminated water or soil because of their job or recreational activities.

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