Volume 39, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



A prospective, controlled randomized study of penicillin therapy in icteric human leptospirosis was carried out between 1 October 1983 and 31 December 1986. Thirty-eight patients received intravenous crystalline penicillin for 5 days, while 41 assigned to a control group received intravenous fluids only. A comparison of the results of laboratory tests made on the day of admission revealed no significant differences between the 2 groups. There was no significant difference in time for defervescence, return of biochemical parameters to normal, incidence of iritis, or mortality in the 2 groups. Three patients (7.3%) in the control group and 1 patient (2.6%) in the treatment group died. The overall mortality rate was 5.9%. Leptospira were recovered from urine cultures in 6 control patients but from none of the treated patients' post-treatment cultures. We conclude that penicillin has little effect on clinical outcome in icteric leptospirosis.


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