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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Leptospirosis in Thailand

16 Jul 2014

Since the beginning of the year (2014), 102 cases of leptospirosis have been reported in the lower northeastern region of Thailand. Cases have been reported in the following provinces of the region: Nakhon Ratchasima (24), Chaiyaphum (16), Buri Ram (31) and Surin (31).

More cases are predicted in 2014, as leptospirosis bacteria thrive in the period between the rainy season and early winter in Thailand.

The majority of cases are farmers and a health warning has been issued: wear rubber boots when wading through water on farmland, especially if there are open wounds on legs or feet and wash every time after coming up from the water.

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 should be aware of the risk and avoid exposure to contaminated water where possible.