Leptospirosis has become one of the most important infectious diseases in Sri Lanka over the last few years. Though it was well documented and investigated in the 1960’s and 70’s, the disease was mostly forgotten for more than 30 years. Leptospirosis has not been among the diseases under scientific investigation in Sri Lanka even after an outbreak in 2003. However, it has become a priority research area following a large outbreak of leptospirosis in 2008 with more than 7000 reported cases.
Leptospirosis is endemic in all but one district in Sri Lanka. Reported cases are mostly males and different occupational categories are listed as risk groups. The commonest exposure risk is for people engaged in farming or with exposure in paddy fields. The case fatality ratio varies between 2-3% in all cases, whereas it may be as high as 33% in complicated cases.
Thirteen different strains of Leptospira in five species have been isolated from human cases from Sri Lanka and 10 serogroups have been reported. Diagnosis is a major challenge faced by the treating physicians and further studies are required to understand the clinicopathology of disease.