Queensland UniversityWhen people travel, away from the secure wall of their homes, they are exposed to a host of diseases. Pertaining to this concept, a new study from University of Queensland, led by researcher Dr Colleen Lau from the School of Population Health, has apparently found that the disease canecutter’s, medically called leptospirosis is increasing among travelers.

This disease seemed to be conventionally an apprehension for males working in farms and agricultural and livestock industries, as it can be contracted by being exposed to urine of several animals. Ms Lau mentioned that recreational exposure and international travel seem to have materialized as progressively more vital sources of infection over the past decade.

Dr Lau commented, “Many of the areas with a high incidence of leptospirosis are popular destinations for domestic and international travelers. With the increasing popularity of ecotourism and outdoor adventure activities, travellers are likely to become increasingly exposed through activities that involve contact with freshwater, soil and animals.”

Leptospirosis can cause influenza-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache and jaundice but may result in a more grave illness counting kidney failure, liver failure, lung haemorrhage, brain infections, and may sometimes be deadly. It is named canecutter’s disease in Queensland owing to the transmission of the disease due to canefield rats. The research seems to have found a new way of observing the spread of the disease.

As an under-diagnosed reason for fever in adventure seekers and returned travellers, Dr Lau and her co-authors, Professor Phil Weinstein and Lee Smythe, advised clinicians to modify their views of the population at danger of developing leptospirosis, even if they do not match the mould of a male agricultural worker.

Dr. Lau remarked, “Early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment will reduce the incidence of severe illness and deaths.”

Identified high-risk zones for leptospirosis comprise of tropical and subtropical areas like Queensland, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, portions of South East Asia and the Caribbean.

The research was published in the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious disease.