How do the physical findings vary by severity of leptospirosis?

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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The physical examination findings differ depending on the severity of disease and the time from onset of symptoms. Patients may appear mildly ill or toxic. Early in the disease, temperatures as high as 40°C and tachycardia are common. Hypotension, oliguria, and abnormal chest auscultation findings at presentation may portend severe illness. When fever is severe and prolonged, hypotension and shock due to volume depletion may also occur. The fever typically subsides within 7 days.

Early in the disease, the skin is warm and flushed. Additional skin findings include a transient petechial eruption that can involve the palate. Later in severe disease, jaundice and purpura can develop. The classic ocular finding of conjunctival suffusion occurs early irrespective of disease severity. Conjunctival suffusion is characterized by redness of the conjunctiva that resembles conjunctivitis but that does not involve inflammatory exudates.

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