Leptospirosis classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Venkata Sivakrishna Kumar Pulivarthi M.B.B.S [2]


Leptospirosis is classified into anicteric and icteric form of leptospirosis based on the clinical presentation.


Anicteric leptospirosis

  • More common but serious illness is uncommon[1]
  • Most of cases present either subclinical or of very mild severity.
  • Few cases present with a febrile illness of sudden onset.
  • Other symptoms include chills, headache (severe with retro-orbital pain and photophobia), myalgia, abdominal pain, conjunctival suffusion, and skin rash (transient and last < 24 hours)
  • May progress to aseptic meningitis in ≤ 25% of patients and more common in younger age group than the patients with icteric leptospirosis.
  • Mortality is very less when compared to icteric leptospirosis

Icteric leptospirosis

  • Rapidly progressive and severe form of leptospirosis (Weil's disease)
  • In the severe form of leptospirosis renal failure, hepatic failure and pulmonary hemorrhage can occur and associate with Icterohemorrhagiae.[2]
  • Less common form of leptospirosis with incidence of 5%-10%.
  • Jaundice is not associate with hepatocellular injury, eventually LFT returns to normal after recovery.
  • High mortality rate with a range of 5%-15%.


  1. prasad, jagadeesh. "Leptospirosis" (PDF).
  2. Katz AR, Ansdell VE, Effler PV, Middleton CR, Sasaki DM (2001). "Assessment of the clinical presentation and treatment of 353 cases of laboratory-confirmed leptospirosis in Hawaii, 1974-1998". Clin Infect Dis. 33 (11): 1834–41. doi:10.1086/324084. PMID 11692294.