22 February

Two cases of Weil’s disease, the aggressive and sometimes deadly form of leptospirosis, appeared in the past couple of weeks and medical professionals in Hawaii are on edge. Leptospirosis is often hard to recognize initially because the symptoms are similar to flu symptoms leading to misdiagnosis. Most cases of Leptospirosis are resolved with antibiotics, but the severe strain is nothing like typical Leptospirosis cases and it can quickly become deadly.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria called leptospira and it is carried by animals including rodents, pigs, dogs, and cattle and is passed through their urine. It is usually transmitted to humans from freshwater sources when a person swims with open wounds or through the eyes, nose, or mouth of a person who swims with his or her head under contaminated water. It can also be transmitted to a person who accidentally exposes an open wound to contaminated mud. It can also be contracted directly from exposure to an animal’s urine, tissue, or blood.

Frequent exposure

People who are frequently exposed to Leptospirosis include:

  • Farmers
  • Veterinarians
  • Butchers
  • Freshwater swimmers, kayakers, and rafters
  • Sewer workers

Leptospirosis treatment

As mentioned above, when Leptospirosis is a mild form, it is typically treated with a round of antibiotics. The more serious injury cases can lead to problems in the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. These cases are usually treated in the hospital and antibiotics are administered as well as necessary treatment for the affected organs such as dialysis and ventilator.

Leptospirosis prevention

Hawaii’s Department of Health, Diseases Outbreak Control Division provides the following advice for preventing Leptospirosis:

  • Do not swim in any freshwater streams and ponds with your head under water or with open sores and wounds. And do not drink the water.
  • Keep water collection areas away from animals and overhanging trees.
  • Control rodents around the home and worksite.
  • Wear protective clothing when working in areas where leptospirosis is likely to exist.
  • Wear gloves when gutting animals or disposing of dead animals.
  • Vaccinate pets and farm animals.

Hawaii’s recent cases

The two men who were diagnosed with Weil’s disease were saved and made a full recovery, but they both came close to losing their lives. One of the men initially went to the emergency room and was sent home after not being diagnosed with Leptospirosis. Fortunately, he was correctly diagnosed the second time he went in for treatment. And fortunately, both men lived, but unfortunately not all medical diagnosis and treatment turn out so well.

Medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients and when care and treatment fall below the medical standard of care, patients may suffer serious injuries and sometimes death. If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to medical malpractice, contact a Hawaii medical malpractice attorney at Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt, P.A. to discuss your claim and injuries. If a medical professional’s negligence caused you harm, you deserve to be compensated and our medical negligence team will advocate for full and fair compensation.

Contact jed kurzban

1003 Bishop Street, Suite 1600
Pauahi Tower
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

808-736-5035 305-444-3503

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131 Madeira Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134

305-444-0060 305-444-3503



Jed Kurzban Esq

Catastrophic Injury Attorney Hawaii

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