Leptospirosis in Ireland: annual incidence and exposures associated with infection

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Epidemiol Infect, 1-9.

SUMMARY Human leptospirosis is found throughout the world, albeit with a higher incidence in tropical regions. In temperate regions it is associated with certain occupational and recreational activities. This paper reports both on the incidence of human leptospirosis in Ireland and on possible associated exposures, using leptospirosis case notification, enhanced surveillance, hospital discharge data and death registrations. Based on official notification data, there was a threefold increase in the reported incidence of leptospirosis in Ireland between 1995-1999 and 2004-2009, which appears partially to be due to improved reporting. The exposures most associated with infection were those involving contact with livestock or water-based recreational sports, in particular kayaking. Advice on prevention should continue to be targeted in the first instance at these groups. The variety of potential transmission routes reported should inform clinicians to consider leptospirosis in individuals with a compatible clinical profile who were not from occupational groups historically considered at risk.

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