Leptospirosis primary prevention

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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 can be prevented by avoiding the risk factors by practicing general measures, from contact with infected sources and animals. Also, it can be minimized by taking antibiotic prophylaxis in high risk group who will have occupational exposure with infected sources.

Primary Prevention

General measures

General protective measures to be taken by risk groups as follows.

  • Recreational activities :
    • Protective clothing and appropriate shoes to protect from infection from contaminated sources such as animal urine.[1]
    • Immediate washing or bathing after recreational activities if exposed to stagnant water or soil
  • Workers and farmers:[2]
    • Learning good animal husbandry techniques and using of personal protective equipment that minimize the risk of transmission
    • Eradication or control of rodent population in the fields or working place


Prophylactic antibiotic for leptospirosis is needed for risk group who are unavoidably in contact with rodents or working in stagnant water and far from medical help such as disaster-zone aid workers and military personnel. Recommended drug of choice is doxycycline with a dose of 200mg weekly, starting 1 or 2 days before exposure and continuing until the high-risk situation resolve(maximum of not more than 8 weeks).[3]


As the pathogenic serovars include wide variety of group, vaccine against leptospirosis is short lived and unprotective.[4]


  1. Forbes AE, Zochowski WJ, Dubrey SW, Sivaprakasam V (2012). "Leptospirosis and Weil's disease in the UK". QJM. 105 (12): 1151–62. doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcs145. PMID 22843698.
  2. "prevention of leptospirosis" (PDF).
  3. Takafuji ET, Kirkpatrick JW, Miller RN, Karwacki JJ, Kelley PW, Gray MR; et al. (1984). "An efficacy trial of doxycycline chemoprophylaxis against leptospirosis". N Engl J Med. 310 (8): 497–500. doi:10.1056/NEJM198402233100805. PMID 6363930.
  4. Koizumi N, Watanabe H (2005). "Leptospirosis vaccines: past, present, and future". J Postgrad Med. 51 (3): 210–4. PMID 16333195.