Epidemic of leptospirosis: an ICU experience

J Assoc Physicians India. 2004 Aug;52:619-22.


Aims: To study the clinical profile and outcome of critically ill patients suffering from leptospirosis with organ dysfunction and correlate mortality with individual risk factors.

Methods: A study of critically ill patients suffering from leptospirosis was carried out in the Medical Intensive Care Unit of a tertiary centre of a metropolitan city between 1st June 2002 and 31st May 2003. All the patients in whom diagnosis was confirmed by ELISA IgM antibody testing underwent thorough clinical examination and necessary biochemical investigations. They received standard antimicrobial therapy and extensive supportive therapy as required. Mortality was correlated with individual risk factors.

Results: Out of 834 total admissions in this period, 60 (7.2%) patients suffered from leptospirosis. There were 48 males and 12 females with age ranging from 12 to 60 years, mean age being 40 years. The clinical manifestations varied from fever (58 patients), jaundice (38), subconjunctival haemorrhages (24), to altered sensorium (22). All the patients had evidence of severe sepsis. Forty six patients had multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and 26 required ventilatory support. The total mortality in leptospirosis patients was 52% which was much higher compared to the total MICU mortality (31.4%) in the same period.

Conclusion: Leptospirosis is an important infection associated with high mortality when associated with organ dysfunction. The poor prognostic factors are preponderance of male sex, alcohol dependence, age group > 50 years, MODS, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), presence of acidosis and need for mechanical ventilation. However, timelyintervention and intensive therapy can save many young lives.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Critical Illness
  • Developing Countries
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Endemic Diseases / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Leptospirosis / diagnosis
  • Leptospirosis / drug therapy
  • Leptospirosis / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Distribution
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Survival Rate


  • Penicillins
  • Steroids