Leptospirosis is an an umbrella term for a variety of flu-like infectious diseases produced by numerous antigenically distinct and morphologically identical bacteria called leptospires. They infect humans and animals through contaminated water, food, or contact with a carrier with opened skin or the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth. In its most serious form, Weil's disease, the disease can lead to life-threatening conditions such as meningitis, jaundice, and kidney failure; in its milder form it causes an unpleasant fever, severe headache, blurred vision and shaking. It can be easily treated with antibiotics.
A moist, warm environment, combined with alkaline to neutral pH of soil and water, favour the growth and maintenance of leptospires outside the animal host. Those working in such conditions are at risk.