Impact Factor

Perspective ARTICLE

Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol., 06 January 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2011.00024

The emergence of severe pulmonary hemorrhagic leptospirosis: questions to consider

Kim Nhang Truong and Jenifer Coburn*
  • Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Since the 1980s, the incidence of severe pulmonary hemorrhage caused by Leptospira spp. infection has increased. The mild, non-specific symptoms or the more classical form of severe disease with hepatorenal manifestations, Weil’s syndrome, predominate world-wide. However, several regions of the world have seen increases in numbers of patients with pulmonary hemorrhage attributed to leptospirosis. The reasons behind the emergence of this syndrome, which carries a high mortality rate, are not known. Several avenues for future research may shed light on the mechanisms involved in development of pulmonary hemorrhage, and inform targeted therapeutics to improve outcomes. Possibilities to consider include: (1) emergence of new bacterial strains, (2) acquisition of virulence traits by strains in the endemic regions, (3) changes in underlying health of the affected human populations, and (4) increased recognition of the syndrome and better record keeping by the medical and veterinary communities. Determining the causes of emerging clinical manifestations presents challenges and opportunities for potentially life-saving research into the pathogenesis of a number of infectious diseases, including leptospirosis.

Keywords: leptospirosis, Leptospira, pulmonary hemorrhage

Citation: Truong KN and Coburn J (2012) The emergence of severe pulmonary hemorrhagic leptospirosis: questions to consider. Front. Cell. Inf. Microbio. 1:24. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2011.00024

Received: 25 October 2011; Accepted: 19 December 2011;
Published online: 06 January 2012.

Edited by:

Robert Heinzen, NIH/NIAID–RML, USA

Reviewed by:

Philip Stewart, RML/NIAID/NIH, USA
Jarlath Nally, University College Dublin, Ireland

Copyright: © 2012 Truong and Coburn. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Jenifer Coburn, Division of Infectious Diseases, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA. e-mail: jcoburn@mcw.edu