Leptospirosis Case Involving a Thai Laborer in Taichung City

Lee TF

2001 Vol.17 NO.11

Correspondence Author:


At 2:30 p.m. on 25 September 2000, a regional hospital in Taichung City reported a suspected plague case involving a Thai laborer. The Thai entered Taiwan on 5 September, and became ill on 12 September. Symptoms were lymphadenitis of the groins and fever. He was operated lymphangiectomy on emergency basis at another hospital. The fever remained, and conditions worsened. He was referred to this hospital on 23 September. Upon arrival, he showed symptoms of pneumonia and multiple organic failures. The case mentioned that there have been cases of similar symptoms back home with several deaths. Plague was then suspected and was reported to the authorities by telephone. The Branch Bureau of the Center for Disease Control immediately dispatched a team for epidemiological investigation and an expert for consultation. Relevant control measures were taken at the same time. It was fortunate that no other suspected cases were found and no outbreaks occurred. In the process of epidemiological investigation, it was noted that the case had close contacts with rodents, his hometown was recently flooded, and he showed clinically symptoms of jaundice and multiple organic failures, an infection of leptospirosis was then suspected. Later laboratory testing confirmed this suspicion. With the use of penicillin, the case was cured and discharged. He then returned to his country. Leptospirosis is an unfamiliar disease to most physicians and the general public in Taiwan. More needs to be done by clinicians and public health workers for its monitoring, diagnosis, treatment and control.