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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Leptospirosis in Dominican Republic

15 Nov 2012

Following the rainy season, an increase in the number of deaths from leptospirosis has been reported in Dominican Republic. Leptospirosis continues to be a major problem throughout the country.

A total of 11 suspected cases of leptospirosis were reported last week. Between January and October this year (2012), a total of 944 suspected cases of leptospirosis were reported with 58 deaths.

Advice for Travellers

Leptospirosis is caused by contact with fresh water, wet soil, or vegetation that has been contaminated by urine of animals that are chronically infected. The infection is transmitted through unhealed breaks in the skin, the eyes, or the mucous membranes. Rats, dogs, cattle, and pigs are the usual reservoirs for this organism. Leptospirosis occurs worldwide and frequently follows flooding after heavy rains.

Travellers may be at risk if swimming or engaging in water sports in infected fresh water or wading through flood water.