Leptospirosis in children in Mumbai slums

Indian J Pediatr. 2002 Oct;69(10):855-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02723705.


Objective: There is limited data available on symptomatic leptospirosis in Indian children. We report an outbreak of leptospirosis that occurred in children living in slums following heavy rainfall and flooding. This hospital-based prospective study was conducted from July to August 2001.

Methods: Diagnosis of acute leptospirosis was suspected by following the Indian Leptospirosis Society working definition for leptospirosis. Diagnosis was confirmed by detecting anti-Leptospira antibodies, using either a Leptospira genus-specific latex agglutination assay or a dipstick assay or by a macroscopic slide agglutination test.

Result: Thirty (32%) out of 93 children admitted had acute leptospirosis. Fever, bodyache, chills, abdominal pain, headache, vomiting, cough, hepatosplenomegaly, edema and crepitations were the common presenting signs and symptoms. Twenty - two children had anicteric leptospirosis and 8 had Weil disease. Response to penicillin treatment was good in all except in one child with Weil disease who died of renal failure within 3 hours of admission.

Conclusion: Leptospirosis has emerged as an infectious disease in Mumbai. During monsoon, parents should ensure that their child does not have contact with the contaminated flood water.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disasters
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Leptospirosis / diagnosis*
  • Leptospirosis / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Poverty Areas
  • Prospective Studies