Expert Answer

Q: What is Leptospirosis, how rare is it and how can our industry help?


According to the CDC website, Leptospirosis is a common zoonotic, bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. Leptospirosis is considered an occupational hazard for people working outdoors or with animals, as well as a recreational hazard for campers or those who participate in outdoor sports. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms (including high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and vomiting) some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all. Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death. Weil's Disease is an acute, secondary form of Leptospirosis, and can occur if the bacteria infect specific organs, including the liver, kidneys, lungs, heart or brain.

While the disease has mainly been associated with people who participate in outdoor recreation sports (people who swim, wade, kayak, and raft in lakes and rivers that may be contaminated from infected animal urine), the CDC does recognize the incidence of Leptospirosis infection among urban children to be increasing.

Leptospirosis From Rats & Mice

As Leptospirosis is often spread through the urine, blood or tissue of animals, including rats and mice, managing urban rodents in structures is one way pest management professionals can assist the public in avoiding possible exposure. Diseases like Leptospirosis is part of the “WHY” we manage rats and mice in structures. An Urban IPM Rodent management program must include the exclusion of rodents from a structure. Our industry has specialized in exclusion products designed to help the PMP do this effectively. IPM also includes conventional management methods and we have a wide variety of management tools for every kind of setting. Ask your Target Specialty Products Representative for assistance with your urban rodent toolbox to ensure you offer a complete urban rodent IPM program.