WHAT IS IT?
Leptospirosis can cause a severe and often fatal bacterial infection in dogs. The primary risk factor is exposure to rats or areas frequented by rats.
Humans can also become infected either through contact with rat urine or via an infected dog.
WHERE IS IT?
A case of Leptospirosis has been confirmed in June 2021 in the Narrabeen/Elanora Heights area on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
In 2020 suburbs involved were Paddington, Balmain, Newtown, Artarmon and Crows Nest.
Previously case clusters had been localised to the Inner West suburbs of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Glebe and Redfern.
HOW DO DOGS BECOME INFECTED?
Dogs can become infected through:
- contact with rat urine
- contact with water or soil contaminated with rat urine
- seeking out and eating rats.
HOW CAN WE AVOID INFECTION?
Ways to prevent infection include:
- avoiding exposure to rats or areas frequented by rats
- preventing dogs from drinking or playing in stagnant water and mud
- Leptospirosis vaccination if indicated.
WHAT ABOUT VACCINATION?
The updated recommendation from The University of Sydney is for vaccination against Leptospirosis in dogs which are:
- living or frequently visiting areas within a 5km radius of Surry Hills.
- living or frequently visiting Annandale, Balmain, Crows Nest or their immediately surrounding suburbs.
- or in contact with rats.
In dogs vaccination involves two doses of vaccine in the initial course 2-4 weeks apart, followed by annual booster vacinations.