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Alias: Lepto, Weil's disease

Discipline: Virology

Test information: Leptospirosis is a zoonosis caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. Leptospira is the etiologic agent of Weil's disease. Symptomatic leptospirosis presents as an abrupt onset febrile illness with myalgia, headache and vomiting. Most cases will spontaneously resolve but may be followed by a second phase of abdominal pain, diarrhoea rash and jaundice. The infection can be complicated by renal and other organ dysfunction. Infection in humans may follow direct or indirect exposure to an infected animal's urine or contaminated fresh water, the incubation period is usually 7-21 days. A comprehensive occupational and travel history is important to establish if the patient has been at risk of exposure.

Availability: Referred to Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL): Monday - Friday during routine hours: 08:45 - 17:15.

Turnaround Time: Up to 7 Days upon receipt at Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL)

Specimen Type(s)
  • Cerebrospinal fluid;
  • Clotted blood;
  • EDTA Whole Blood;
  • Urine;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Gold Top SST BD;
  • Purple Top BD;
  • Sterile CE-marked Universal Container;
  • Urine Monovette Primary Tube;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Plain Top Sarstedt;
  • Purple Top Microtainer BD;
  • Sterile CE-marked Universal Container;
  • Urine Monovette Primary Tube;
  • Leptospira antibodies / DNA;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
Unseparated blood on EDTA: 5 - 10mL
Venous blood: 5 - 10mL
Urine: 1mL
CSF: as much as possible
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
  • Minimum-clotting time 30 minutes.
  • Specimens should be transported to the laboratory as soon as possible.
  • Outside of normal hours samples should be refrigerated (2 °C to 8 °C).
  • The microscopic agglutination test (MAT) is the gold standard for detection of agglutinating antibodies that may be present from 5 days after disease onset. It is necessary to test 2 samples taken 7 days apart. If the patient presents in the first week of the disease, in addition to serum, send EDTA blood for Leptospirosis PCR.
  • Please state patient's occupation or relevant leisure activities.
  • Please give details of relevant symptoms.
  • Please state date of onset of symptoms.
Maximum add on time
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
Results: Negative / Positive
UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

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Last updated: 03-06-2023