Childhood leptospirosis in an industrialized country: Population-based study in Okinawa, Japan

Kouki Tomari, Takao Toyokawa, Takuto Takahashi, Tetsuya Kakita, Sho Okano, Hisako Kyan, Naoya Tonegawa, Teppei Okawa, Takashi Matsuoka, Tsutomu Matsumora

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Leptospirosis is considered underdiagnosed because of its nonspecific presentation and lack of proper understanding of its epidemiology. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. However, few data are available on confirmed leptospirosis cases in children in industrialized countries. We therefore aimed to describe epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of laboratory-confirmed childhood leptospirosis in Okinawa, Japan. We reviewed the national surveillance data of pediatric leptospirosis in Okinawa, Japan from January 2003 through December 2015. The database included all of laboratory-confirmed leptospirosis diagnosed at the only central laboratory for leptospirosis in the region. There were 44 children (0–20 years of age) with laboratory-confirmed leptospirosis. Of these, 90% were male, 91% were 10–20 years of age, and 96% of cases occurred in August and September. The number of laboratory-confirmed patients ranged from 0 to 11 per year (mean: 3.3 per year), and the estimated annual rate was 1.0 per 100,000 pediatric populations. In all cases, the presumed infection route was recreational exposure to river water. Commonly observed manifestations include fever (95%), myalgia (52%), and conjunctival suffusion (52%). Childhood leptospirosis in Okinawa, Japan occurred predominantly in teenage boys after freshwater exposure in summer, and most patients had characteristic conjunctival suffusion. Cohort studies would be helpful to better understand more detailed clinical manifestations in association with prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0006294
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 8 2018

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