Lepto, or leptospirosis to give it its full name, is a serious disease that people catch from animals (zoonosis). Farmers (and vets!) are particularly at risk of catching the disease, which can cause debilitating and long lasting symptoms such as severe headaches, extreme tiredness, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, skin rashes, breathing problems, chest pain. In serious cases, it causes jaundice, miscarriage, renal failure, hemorrhage, and rarely, death. Severe cases can result in permanent complications and months to years in hospital.
There are several ways to reduce the risk of contracting lepto:
- Wear appropriate footwear on farm at all times
- Control pests
- Vaccinate all animals on farm
- Use waterproof plasters on wounds and scratches
Recent research carried out at Massey University, reiterates the importance of vaccination as the number one way to reduce risk to farmers, staff and families.
The farm vaccination programme must include vaccination of all ages of animals at the right time, with the right vaccine which has been stored and handled correctly.
If you want to know more about leptospirosis in New Zealand, talk to your Anexa vet and arrange a lepto risk assessment and watch these videos:
Lepto and people: http://bit.ly/lepto-people
Lepto and Livestock: http://bit.ly/lepto-livestock-pets