About fifty years ago Weil1 discovered an acute infectious disease with jaundice and fever to which his name was later applied. In 1914 Inada and Ido2 proved the etiologic agent to be a spiral shaped micro-organism which Noguchi3 shortly thereafter described in detail, naming it Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae.
Since the identification of this micro-organism there has gradually accumulated knowledge of other morphologically similar but serologically and immunologically different members of the same group of leptospiras.4 They are distributed worldwide and are usually associted with rats and dogs. Many of them classed as Leptospira biflexa5 are not pathogenic for man. In Europe at least three distinct pathogenic varieties are recognized: ( 1) Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae of Weil's disease, (2) Leptospira canicola6 of an infection in dogs transmissible to man and (3) Leptospira grippo-typhosa7 of a syndrome known in different places as "summer influenza," "harvest fever," "mud fever,"
HAVENS WP, BUCHER CJ, REIMANN HA. LEPTOSPIROSIS: A PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARD: REPORT OF A SMALL OUTBREAK OF WEIL'S DISEASE IN BATHERS. JAMA. 1941;116(4):289–291. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820040023008
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