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Leptospirosis in la Reunion

26 Mar 2018

According to media quoting local health authorities Link (in French) there have been 42 cases of leptospirosis (including 1 death) in la Reunion since the start of 2018. The south of the island is particularly affected.

Leptospirosis occurs in most countries and can be transmitted by contact with, or drinking water contaminated with animal urine. An increase in case numbers may occur following flooding.

Advice for Travellers

  • Be aware of the risk and avoid exposure to contaminated water where possible.
  • Always protect the skin when travelling, particularly in tropical climates. All cuts, scratches and open skin lesions should be covered with waterproof plasters.
  • Do not swallow or drink water that could be infected.
  • If the risk is considered high and exposure unavoidable, protective clothing (wet suits and goggles) should be worn, especially footwear e.g. waders.
  • Careful washing and showering after possible exposure may be helpful. 
  • There is no vaccine available in the UK to protect against leptospirosis.

For further information see Leptospirosis.