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Volume 41, Number 2, April 2008

Demographic and clinical features of leptospirosis: three-year experience in central Taiwan

Po-Chang Lin, Chih-Yu Chi, Mao-Wang Ho, Chin-Ming Chen, Cheng-Mao Ho, Jen-Hsein Wang
Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung; and Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Tung’s Taichung Metro Harbor Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

Received: June 20, 2006    Revised: January 4, 2007    Accepted: March 15, 2007   


Corresponding author:

Dr. Jen-Hsein Wang, Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, No.2, Yude Rd., North District, Taichung 404, Taiwan. E-mail: Dr. Jen-Hsein Wang This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Background and purpose: 

Leptospirosis is a major cause of fever in subtropical and tropical areas. The clinical manifestations are protean, ranging from very mild and nonspecific symptoms to severe septic shock and death. This retrospective study investigated the demographic and clinical features of leptospirosis in central Taiwan over 3 years, with emphasis on pulmonary manifestations.



We analyzed the clinical characteristics of serologically-confirmed leptospirosis cases at a tertiary teaching hospital from October 2002 to October 2005.




Twenty three confirmed cases were included and Leptospira santarosai serovar Shermani was the most commonly identified serovar (77.3%). The male-to-female ratio was 2.67:1 and the average age was 42.4 years. Nineteen cases (82.6%) were hospitalized, 3 were diagnosed in the outpatient setting and 1 died before admission. The majority of cases (63.6%) occurred in rainy months (from June to October). Fever (incidence, 100%), anorexia (74%), headache (61%), gastrointestinal upset (53%), myalgia (48%), and cough (48%) were the common clinical manifestations. Fifteen cases (63%) had respiratory symptoms and twelve (52%) had chest roentgenography abnormalities. Multiple nodular densities pattern (42%) was the most common abnormal finding on chest plain film. Three patients met the criteria of Weil’s syndrome. The overall mortality rate was 4.3%.



Respiratory symptoms or abnormal findings on chest X-ray were not uncommon in patients with leptospirosis. In addition to hepatic or renal dysfunction, leptospirosis should be seriously considered in patients with pulmonary symptoms and fever, especially in subtropical and tropical areas.



Key words:

Leptospirosis; Leukocytosis; Lung; Taiwan; Thrombocytopenia



J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2008;41:145-150.