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Forum Name: Other infections

Question: Leptospirosis


 travellingpotato - Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:28 am

I recently moved to Hawaii and went on a guided hike to Maunawili Falls. This area had signs posted warning about Leptospirosis, the bacterial infection in the water. Our guide instructed us not to drink the water or swim if we had large open cuts, so I decided to swim. When I got home I did a little research and found out how serious the infection can get, and that it can ultimately result in death. So, of course, now I am very nervous. I read that it can be spread by water going up the nose and in the eyes, etc. I do have a small cut on my smallest toe, a canker sore in my mouth both of which were exposed. I also got some water in my eyes and up my nose. I realize I am probably overreacting but I am just looking for some peace of mind and to be safe and healthy. I rinsed my cut with hydrogen peroxide and I rinsed my mouth with it as well (along with regular mouthwash). What else can I do to prevent a possible infection from spreading? Is there anyway to detect infection? Would it be wise to start an course of antibiotics (I read Doxycycline 100mg q 12 hours x 1 week was appropriate) just incase? Or wait to see if I experience common symptoms?

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
 travellingpotato - Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:29 am

If you need this info:I am a 20 year old female. I have never been diagnosed with this before. No surgeries. No medications. Thank you.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:35 pm

User avatar Hello,

Your concern is understandable. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of leptospirosis depends on many factors which include history of exposure, lab tests as well as isolation of the organism from the blood, urine.

Serological testing (antibody tests) are expensive and difficult to interpret especially so early after exposure. Taking the antibiotic as prophylaxis has been given to people in endemic areas (using doxycycline) under physician supervision. I would like to make it very clear that you should not take doxycycline on your own "just in case". You must be assessed first as this drug may not be sufficient to TREAT you if actually have the disease. Prophylactic treatment is used to prevent disease rather than cure disease.

Best regards,

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