KATERYNA KON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KATERYNA KON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Leptospira bacteria, computer illustration. Leptospira is one of a group of helical bacteria called spirochaetes, which contains many serious pathogens. They have many small coils with C- or S-shaped form of the cell. One or both ends of Leptospira are usually hooked. The parasitic species L. icterohaemorrhagiae is the main causative agent of leptospirosis (Weil's disease), but many other Leptospira species cause similar symptoms, attacking the liver (jaundice) or the meninges of the brain (meningitis). Infection occurs through contact with rodents, dogs and farm animals, so farmers, sewage workers and veterinary surgeons are particularly susceptible. Treatment is with penicillin.
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