Rare bacterial infection reported in Laramie Bounty

Via the Wyoming News Exchange

Human case may be first ever in Wyoming 

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Department of Health announced on Friday that a rare, potentially serious bacterial infection has been identified in Laramie County: leptospirosis.


Often found in dogs, one case in Laramie County is believed to be the state’s first human case on record.


State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Emily Curren wants people to be aware that this infection is incredibly rare in humans and should not be a huge cause for concern.


The person with the infection has occupational exposure to animals, according to WDH.


“We’re not really expecting this outbreak in dogs to result in human cases, we just wanted people to be aware that it’s happening,” she said.


The bacterial infection can lead to kidney damage, liver failure and even death in both pets and humans without appropriate treatment, according to WDH.


In the U.S., there are between 100 and 150 reported human cases annually, primarily occurring in subtropical climates like Puerto Rico or Hawaii, according to the CDC.


Leptospirosis is most commonly spread through direct contact with the urine of infected animals but can also be transmitted through contact with or ingestion of urine-contaminated water or food.

Wild animals, as well as cattle, horses and rodents, may also carry the bacteria.


Most often, the disease spreads between dogs from contact with animals from other environments. This can include contact with animals from other states, wildlife or exposure to livestock.


Curren doesn’t foresee this outbreak being an ongoing problem. She advises dog owners to appropriately care for their pet, wash their hands and consult their veterinarian if they’re concerned.


Published Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023


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