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West Indian Med J. 1990 Mar;39(1):27-34.

Leptospirosis in Barbados. A clinical study.

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Department of Medicine, U.W.I., Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados.


A 39-month clinical study of leptospirosis was undertaken at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados. Eighty-eight patients had a confirmed diagnosis of the disease during the period. The major serogroups identified were autumnalis (including a new serovar bim), icterohaemorrhagiae, ballum and canicola. The majority of patients presented with jaundice (95%,) anorexia and headaches (85%), fever (76%) and conjunctival suffusion (54%). While abnormal creatinine levels were seen in 49% of patients on admission, only 16% were judged to have had renal failure. The urine to plasma urea ratio showed high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of pre-renal azotemia. Cardiac arrhythmias and myocarditis occurred in 18% of patients and pericarditis in 6%. An elevated serum amylase was found in 65% of cases. The bilirubin level took 5.5 weeks to return to normal. Thrombocytopenia was shown not to be due to a disseminated intravascular coagulation, and a randomised trial of high dose penicillin did not reveal any benefit to jaundiced patients. The overall mortality during the study was 5.7%.

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