Leptospirosis is a bacterial illness transmitted by the urine of infected rats and mice. Leptospirois is rare among travellers, but in 2001 a number of people taking part in an adventure race (Eco-challenge) in Borneo did contract the disease, most likely after swimming in the Segama River. Travellers may also be exposed in Vang Vieng in Laos, where tubing and other water activities are popular.


Common symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, chills, diarrhoea, headaches, and eye infections.


Seek up to date advice before travel and avoid entering water in areas where leptospirosis is known to occur.


Leptospirosis is usually effectively treated with antibiotics, but about five per cent of cases may be fatal. Fatality is usually a result of severe kidney or liver damage associated with delayed diagnosis.

The Travel Doctor-TMVC urges travellers to seek the advice of a doctor experienced in travel medicine for any fever related illnesses occurring during a trip, or promptly on your return home.