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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010 Aug;83(2):326-35. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2010.10-0040.

Differences in clinical manifestations of imported versus autochthonous leptospirosis in Austria and Germany.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases and Pulmonology, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Leptospirosis, a zoonosis occurring worldwide, has a broad spectrum of clinical manifestations. Recently, various countries observed an increase of severe anicteric cases. In Austria and Germany, growing numbers of imported cases are notified in addition to autochthonous infections. The aim of this study was to assess whether imported and autochthonous cases differ in clinical manifestations and outcome. We retrospectively analyzed 24 imported and 35 autochthonous cases treated in six infectious disease units between 1998 and 2008. To compare disease severity, patients were classified according to established independent risk factors for fatal outcome. Although severe leptospirosis (i.e., presence of > or = 1 independent risk factors for death) occurred in similar proportions of imported (67%) and autochthonous (86%) infections (P = 0.1), imported cases were significantly fewer icteric (13% versus 69%; P < 0.0001). In conclusion, an increasing incidence of severe anicteric imported cases of leptospirosis should be anticipated with rising global travel activities.

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