Introduction to LeptoNet

Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis, heavily underestimated due to the diversity of clinical signs and symptoms and a lack of proper diagnostics. As a severe zoonosis leptospirosis is highly important in many areas as a primary cause of general infectious syndrome disease associated with renal and liver failure and also is very important in differential diagnosis of haemorrhagic fevers with renal syndrome. In regard with these facts WHO will publish general guidelines for leptospirosis. LeptoNet presented here should be considered as an extension to the guidelines. Also this website follows the trend set by International Leptospirosis Society (ILS) which includes collection of more precise data about prevalence of leptospirosis worldwide, through direct contact with selected members of ILS in several countries
(WHO – Weekly Epidemiological Record 23. July 1999.)

With LeptoNet we aim to provide frequently updated data on leptospirosis incidence, basic data concerning disease, and to computerize data acquisition about leptospirosis incidence.

WHO-ILS Guidelines

Human leptospirosis is a febrile illness with symptoms similar to those of influenza, dengue fever and other viral haemorrhagic diseases. It is a potentially serious but treatable disease caused by pathogenic leptospires that are transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans. Rodents, insectivores, dogs, cattle and swine are the primary animal reservoirs. Human-to-human transmission is very rare.

Leptospirosis is a worldwide public health problem, though it is mainly found in humid tropical and subtropical areas where it is linked to local agricultural practices and poor housing and waste disposal. Because of its resemblance to other diseases and the necessity for laboratory tests to confirm a diagnosis of leptospirosis, the disease is largely underreported and is overlooked in many parts of the world where it is likely to occur.

In regards with these facts WHO in collaboration with ILS will publish general guidelines for human leptospirosis.

What’s New

With sponsorship from the National Institutes of Health and PanBio,
Inc., the ILS is pleased to be able to offer travel awards to help
support scientific trainees attending the meeting in Quito, Ecuador.
Priority will be given to advanced graduate students and postdoctoral
fellows who wish to present their work as oral platform presentations;
applications from junior academic faculty will be considered as well.
Applications will consist of the following: scientific abstract (the
applicant must be first author); an abbreviated 2 page Curriculum vitae;
a statement of financial need focusing on estimated total costs of
traveling to the meeting; and, importantly, the availability of
supplementary funding. As funds are limited, it is anticipated that
only partial support to the meeting will be possible. Scholarship awards
will be announced soon after the abstract submission deadline.
Applications will be considered primarily according to quality of
scientific abstract in addition to the other considerations as noted
Extra info
leptonews-pijl 27-2-2007

Leptospirosis outbreak Indonesia 2007
Following the severe floods in Jakarta (and other parts of Java and Indonesia), a leptospirosis outbreak has been recognized.
To date (27 February) 70 cases have been diagnosed, most at Tarakan hospital (tests; LeptoTek DriDot and Lateral Flow, confirmation by MAT at Balitvet, Bogor). There are two fatalities.
In spite of the frequent (annual) outbreaks, there is a general unawareness of leptospirosis in Indonesia.
Therefore the true extent of the outbreak in and outside Jakarta is unknown but likely is considerable.
Extra info
leptonews-pijl 6-12-2005

Minutes of the International Leptospirosis Society Business Meeting
Chiang Mai, Thailand, 16th November 2005
Minutes of the International Leptospirosis Society Business Meeting
Chiang Mai, Thailand, 16th November 2005

The President of the ILS, Rudy Hartskeerl, opened the meeting. The secretary, Paul Levett, gave an overview of the activities of the ILS since the meeting in Barbados in 2002.

· The membership list was tidied up after the previous meeting, leaving 342 members. As of November 1st 2005 the number of members was 415. Membership was open to anyone with an interest in leptospirosis. Communication between the members was through the ILS website and the ILS List Server, maintained through the kind efforts of Ben Adler.

· ILS conducted a second worldwide survey of the burden of disease in 1998-2000. Data are still being analysed. With the support of WHO, ILS launched LeptoNet, a passive surveillance website, in 2003. To date, there have been 74 applications from 34 countries, but data has been posted from only 3 countries. In view of this disappointing response, in early 2005, ILS made an invitation to all members via the List Server, to participate in another surveillance questionnaire. Only 7 responses were received. The reasons for this were the subject of much discussion. Suggestions from members included:
· The members in each country must identify to ILS the appropriate contact
persons in relevant Ministries of Health or Public Health.
· The survey was far too complex and should be simplified.
· Economic impact data should be collected by a working group.
It was decided that the new committee should re-examine the whole issue of surveillance.
Those who were most critical of the ILS approach were later unwilling to stand for election.

· The issue of formalization of the ILS and its ability to lobby WHO for support were the subject of much discussion. Views of members represented opposite ends of a spectrum. Concerns were expressed about the implicit costs and the ability of members in developing countries to pay subscriptions. Those who were most in favour of a formal relationship with WHO were mostly unwilling to share the burden of an increased workload for the committee. It was decided that the new committee should make this decision promptly.

· The Taxonomic Sub-Committee met on Saturday 12th November in Chiang Mai. The Chairman, Lee Smythe, presented a summary of the decisions taken. Two new species were recognised as having been validly published (Turneriella parva and Leptospira broomii) and three new serovar names were approved (Portblairi, Buenos Aires and Topaz). Members were reminded to use the correct format for writing serovar names (eg: Icterohaemorrhagiae). A working group would coordinate standardised naming of orthologous genes. The members of the TSC are Lee Smythe (chair), Paul Levett (secretary), Ben Adler, Rudy Hartskeerl, Carole Bolin and Bill Ellis. The minutes of the TSC meeting will be published in IJSEM.

· Elections were held to fill all positions on the committee. Rudy Hartskeerl agreed to continue as President and was re-elected. Paul Levett stated that his current position did not allow him to devote as much time to ILS business as necessary and asked the membership to accept his resignation. Joe Vinetz was elected as secretary. Ben Adler was elected adjunct secretary and the committee members elected were Rod Chappel, Paul Cullen, Mohamed Ghouse and Yupin Suputtamongkol.

· It was decided that the next meeting would be held in 2007. Offers to host the meeting were received from Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay. Because of the reduced interval between meetings, the new committee will decide by the end of 2005 on the venue for the next meeting. A proposal was made by Ben Adler, on behalf of Professor Yanagihara, that the meeting in 2015 should be held at the University of Kyushu, Japan, in commemoration of the centenary of the first isolation of Leptospira interrogans by Inada. This proposal was accepted by acclamation.

· The membership thanked the organising committee of the 2005 ILS meeting for their hospitality. It was generally agreed that the meeting was a tremendous success.
Extra info
leptonews-pijl 24-6-2004

Leptospirosis outbreak in Kenya
As of 17 June 2004, the total number of suspected cases from Chesamis high school is 141, including 6 deaths. A nearby primary school with 1000 students also reported some suspected cases with 2 deaths. The schools share a water source. PCR analysis of blood samples were positive in 11 out of 20 samples
Extra info
leptonews-pijl 22-6-2004

Leptospirosis on the rise in Hawaii
In the period January-May, 25 cases of leptospirosis with one fataliry were recorded in Hawaii (compared to 6 cases in the same period in 2003).
Extra info
leptonews-pijl 18-5-2004

New leptospirosis outbreak in Indonesia
In the first two weeks of March 2004, 17 cases of leptospirosis admitted to Tarakan, one of Jakarta’s province hospitals. Three patients died soon after arrival at the hospital. The real number of cases must be higher because all attention was focussed on the outbreak of dengue/dengue hemorragic fever. Furtherrmore, there was a limited availability of the rapid tests Dri Dot and Lateral Flow used to confirm suspected cases. Practitioner awareness is very low.
Extra info

leptonews-pijl 8-10-2003
America – Andean region – VENEZUELA – –
Suspected leptospirosis outbreak in Venezuela
In May-July, 2003 an outbreak of a febrile illnes occurred in a home for older people in Guarico. 48 cases with 21 deaths were recorded. MAT and PCR were supportive for Leptospirosis in 19 cases tested. Brucellosis was ruled out. However, a test for typhoid (Dip-S-Tick) was postive on 6 of the 10 sera tested.
Extra info

Asia – The pacific – INDONESIA – –
Leptospirosis outbreak in Jakarta
The Tarakan hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia diagnosed 17 cases of leptospirosis at the end of June 2003. One patient died. Cases were diagnosed with the LEPTOTEK Lateral flow test.
Extra info

Asia – The pacific – INDIA – –
Leptospirosis in India, Kerala
The WHO outbreak verification list of 02 July 2003 reports an increase in fevers, including leptospirosis in the state Kerala of India after the monsoon rains. ProMed (26 June 2003) mentions 616 cases with 53 (official) to 115 (unofficial) deaths.
Extra info

Asia – The pacific – INDONESIA – –
Leptospirosis outbreak in Indonesia
In the period February-March, 2002 an outbreak of leptospirosis occurred on Java, Indonesia following massive floodings in January. In Jakarta, 119 cases with 18 deaths were recorded. Most cases were diagnosed using rapid assays and/or MAT.