• Burden of disease;
  • diagnosis;
  • epidemiology;
  • leptospirosis;
  • modelling;
  • public health;
  • review;
  • veterinary health;
  • zoonosis

Clin Microbiol Infect 2011; 17: 494–501


Globally, leptospirosis poses an increasing public health problem, as evidenced by markedly increasing incidence rates and multiple outbreaks in all continents. Yet, the disease is severely neglected and hence, its global burden is largely unknown. The estimated incidence of about half a million severe human cases annually is probably an underestimation while the burden for animal health is unknown. It is anticipated that current international initiatives will assess the global burden of leptospirosis, while mathematical modelling of transmission dynamics will allow the identification and testing of appropriate intervention and outbreak response measures within the coming years.