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Leptospirosis Outbreak in AZ

Leptospirosis Outbreak in AZ:

  • An outbreak of leptospirosis in dogs was recently identified in Maricopa County. Over 50 dogs in Maricopa County have been diagnosed since February 2016.
  • Navajo County has identified 2 cases of leptospirosis in dogs since the on-set of this outbreak.
  • To date, none of the people with exposure to the sick dogs have been diagnosed with leptospirosis, however a few Maricopa County residents have illnesses that are currently being investigated.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that can affect people and animals, has been on the rise in Maricopa County dogs since February, 2016. The bacteria that causes leptospirosis is spread in the urine of infected animals, including rodents, wildlife, pets, and livestock. People and dogs can be infected through contact with infected urine or urine-contaminated water or wet soil. Dogs with leptospirosis can potentially spread the infection to people and those that work with animals may be at increased risk for infection. Dogs with leptospirosis can shed the bacteria in their urine for up to several months, even if they don’t have symptoms.

  • For Dogs
  • For People
  • For Animal Facilities/Vets
  • For Healthcare Providers

Even dogs who only go outside in their owner’s yard can be exposed by infected rodents or other small wildlife.

 

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs can include:

  • Fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Red eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Signs of kidney or liver damage which can include frequent urination, excessive drinking, yellow eyes and skin, decreased urination, or abdominal pain

Some dogs do not show signs of illness or only have mild illness. Leptospirosis infection can be fatal or result in permanent kidney or liver damage.

Symptoms of leptospirosis in people can include:

People with symptoms of leptospirosis most often have mild flu-like symptoms, however occasionally severe illness resulting in liver or kidney damage can occur. Symptoms of leptospirosis in people include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Severe muscle pain (especially calves and thighs)
  • Red eyes
  • Rash, yellow eyes and skin, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and liver and/or kidney damage can also occur.

People typically get sick about a week after they are exposed but it can take as little as 2 days and as long as 30 days for someone to show symptoms. Most people do not show any signs of illness. Certain types of leptospirosis can be more severe, especially for people who are older or have underlying medical conditions.

Prevention for Animals:

  • Avoid swimming or wading in water that may be contaminated with animal urine, or drinking potentially contaminated water. This includes unchlorinated water, dog parks, daycare or boarding facilities.
  • Avoid contact with rodents and wildlife to reduce exposure to the bacteria.
  • Avoid exposure to urine and urine-contaminated soil, water, grass, food or bedding from infected animals (such as rodents, wildlife, farm animals, and other dogs).
  • A leptospirosis vaccine is available which can help prevent infection and disease, and should be discussed with the dog’s veterinarian. The vaccine does not have a higher likelihood of causing vaccine reactions than any other vaccine. Exercise standard precautions in dogs with a history of serious vaccine reactions or in which vaccination is contraindicated.

Prevention for People:

  • Wear protective clothing (such as gloves and gowns/coveralls) and waterproof shoes or boots to avoid exposure to contaminated urine or urine-contaminated water or soil.
  • Cover any cuts or wounds with waterproof dressings before potential exposure to contaminated infected animals, or contaminated urine or water.
  • Avoid swimming and other recreational activities in water that may be contaminated with animal urine, or drinking potentially contaminated water.
  • Avoid contact with rodents and wildlife to reduce exposure to the bacteria.
  • Avoid exposure to urine and urine-contaminated soil, water, grass, food or bedding from infected animals (such as rodents, wildlife, farm animals, and other dogs). Wash your hands after handling or cleaning up animal waste.
  • People who have depressed immune systems or are pregnant should avoid contact with potentially infected animals.

 

For more information: 
Contact Adam Wolfe
Navajo County Communications Manager
Office: (928) 524-4165
adam.wolfe@navajocountyaz.gov

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