Leptospirosis is a zoonotic bacterial disease that affects vulnerable populations such as rural subsistence farmers and urban slum dwellers. Although leptospirosis causes life-threatening clinical manifestations, such as pulmonary hemorrhage syndrome, and has a worldwide distribution, the key barrier to addressing this neglected disease has been insufficient data on its disease burden. A new paper examines published literature and grey literature studies on leptospirosis and using information collected on disease incidence and case fatality, estimated leptospirosis incidence and mortality at country, regional and global level.
Overall, leptospirosis was estimated to cause 1.03 million cases and 58,900 deaths each year. These estimates place leptospirosis as a leading zoonotic cause of morbidity and mortality. In addition, morbidity and mortality was greatest in the poorest regions of the world and in areas where surveillance is not routinely performed.