Leptospirosis in elderly patients

Braz J Infect Dis. 2013 Sep-Oct;17(5):592-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bjid.2013.01.012. Epub 2013 Jul 2.


Leptospirosis is a re-emerging zoonosis with broad clinical spectrum and high mortality in severe forms. The aim of this study was to analyze clinical manifestations, laboratory findings, epidemiological data, and management in elderly patients with leptospirosis. Toward that end, we performed a descriptive analysis of 15 leptospirosis elderly cases (age 60-78 years) treated at the Clinic of Infectious Diseases of University Hospital - Pleven (1976-2012). Patients were serologically confirmed by microscopic agglutination test. Twelve cases (80%) presented with the severe form of leptospirosis. Co-morbidity (hypertonic diseases, chronic pulmonary diseases, chronic alcohol abuse, and diabetes) was registered in 13 cases. All cases had fever, oliguria, conjunctival suffusions, hepatosplenomegaly. Jaundice (14/93%), hemorrhagic diathesis (13/87%), vomiting (11/73%), abdominal pain (10/67%), myalgia (7/47%) and hypotension (7/47%) also were observed. Renal dysfunction was expressed by increased blood urea nitrogen (mean 38.1±24.1mmol/L) and serum creatinine (mean 347.6±179.8μmol/L). Hepatic dysfunction was expressed by increased total serum bilirubin level (mean 274.6±210.7μmol/L) and slightly elevated aminotransferases (ASAT mean 125.8±61.6IU/L; ALAT mean 131.3±126.5IU/L). Five cases (33%) had a lethal outcome. In conclusion, leptospirosis in elderly patients is associated with severe course and higher risk for death, and requires prompt intensive treatment.

Keywords: Acute renal failure; Age; Leptospirosis; Outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Agglutination Tests
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptospirosis* / blood
  • Leptospirosis* / complications
  • Leptospirosis* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index