Studying risk factors associated with human leptospirosis.
Kamath R., Swain S., Pattanshetty S., Nair NS.
BACKGROUND: Leptospirosis is one of the most under diagnosed and underreported disease in both developed and developing countries including India. It is established that environmental conditions and occupational habit of the individuals put them at risk of acquiring disease, which varies from community to community. Various seroprevalence studies across the world have documented emerging situation of this neglected tropical disease, but limited have probed to identify the risk factors, especially in India. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to identify the environmental and occupational risk factors associated with the disease in Udupi District. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This population-based case-control study was carried out in Udupi, a District in Southern India from April 2012 until August 2012. Udupi is considered to be endemic for Leptospirosis and reported 116 confirmed cases in the year 2011. Seventy of 116 laboratory confirmed cases and 140 sex matched neighborhood healthy controls participated in the study. A predesigned, semi-structured and validated questionnaire was used for data collection through house to house visit and observations were noted about environmental conditions. Univariate analysis followed by multivariate analysis (back ward conditional logistic regression) was performed by using STATA version 9.2 (StataCorp, College Station, TX, USA) to identify potential risk factors. RESULTS: Occupational factors such as outdoor activities (matched odds ratio [OR] of 3.95, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.19-13.0), presence of cut or wound at body parts during work (matched OR: 4.88, CI: 1.83-13.02) and environmental factors such as contact with rodents through using the food materials ate by rat (matched OR: 4.29, CI: 1.45-12.73) and contact with soil or water contaminated with urine of rat (matched OR: 4.58, CI: 1.43-14.67) were the risk factors identified to be associated with disease. CONCLUSION: Leptospirosis is still considered as neglected disease in the district. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of cases can save many lives. However, there is a need of integrated rodent control measures with great effort to increase awareness and education among subjects in controlling the disease.