8 February 2019
Take 7: Top four diseases killing travellers
GPs don’t often diagnose leptospirosis, but it is one of the four diseases likely to result in death for returned travellers.
Other common exotic diseases which may result in death include malaria, typhoid, and paratyphoid.
“Most doctors don’t think leptospirosis is common in returned travellers,” says Dr Bernard Hudson, a microbiologist and infectious disease physician at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.
Diagnosis can be difficult for leptospirosis, and often relies on serology to diagnose. To determine whether a patient may have leptospirosis, Dr Hudson recommends that GPs ask what activities the patient did while they were abroad.
Freshwater activities may indicate the patient could have contracted leptospirosis, especially in countries with warm climates.
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