News // 3.7.19

Public service announcement - reports of outbreaks of Leptospirosis in Sydney

There have been recent reports of outbreaks of Leptospirosis in Sydney. All affected cases have been reported in the Inner West (Surry Hills, Glebe). Leptospirosis is caused by infection with filamentous, gram-negative motile bacterial spirochetes of the genus Leptospira. Favouring warm, moist environments, ponds and stagnant water and areas exposed to flooding may provide conditions suitable for the spirochetes to survive for months. Reservoir hosts allow continued contamination of the environment (most often rats).

Dogs, as incidental hosts, may become infected through contact with the spirochetes in food, water and bedding. Leptospira may penetrate mucous membranes and macerated or broken skin; the incubation period is around 7 days. Incidental hosts tend to develop more severe clinical signs and shed for longer periods. Leptospirosis can be suspected in any dog with:

  • Nonspecific clinical signs like lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea 

The University of Sydney is currently undertaking a study to determine which serovars are involved in this outbreak and if there is any specific source of infection which can be identified.

If presented with a case you suspect may be leptospirosis; important information to ask is:

  • Any contact with rats
  • Any contact with stagnant water (eg ponds)
  • Any location the dog has been in the last 14 days

PPE is IMPERATIVE as Leptospirosis is considered zoonotic.

We will get many requests for vaccination against Leptospirosis in the next few days to weeks. We would recommend vaccinating against Leptospirosis if the dog lives in the Inner West or city area or goes for walks in these areas. So far there have been no reported cases from other Sydney areas but we cannot exclude that cases will emerge in other areas as well. We are currently using the Protech C2i vaccine which covers for Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni only.

Please call Allambie Vet if you have any further questions.

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