Also Known As: Leptospirosis, black jaundice, nanukayami fever, weil's syndrome, rat catchers yellows, canefield fever, Fort Bragg fever
Leptospirosis (also known as Weil's syndrome, canicola fever, canefield fever, nanukayami fever, 7-day fever, Rat Catcher's Yellows, Fort Bragg fever, black jaundice and Pretibial fever) is caused by infection with bacteria of the genus Leptospira, and affects humans as well as other mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
The disease was first described by Adolf Weil in 1886 when he reported an "acute infectious disease with enlargement of spleen, jaundice, and nephritis." Leptospira was first observed in 1907 from a post mortem renal tissue slice. In 1908, Inada and Ito first identified it as the causative organism and in 1916 noted its presence in rats.
Though recognised among the world's most common diseases transmitted to people from animals, leptospirosis is nonetheless a relatively rare bacterial infection in humans. The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, the eyes, or with the mucous membranes. Outside of tropical areas, leptospirosis cases have a relatively distinct seasonality with most of them occurring in spring and autumn.