Volume 69, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Acute undifferentiated febrile illnesses are common in tropical developing countries but are difficult to diagnose on clinical grounds alone. Leptospirosis is rarely diagnosed, despite evidence that sporadic cases and epidemics continue to occur worldwide. The purpose of this study was to diagnose an outbreak of acute undifferentiated febrile illness among Peruvian military recruits that developed after a training exercise in the high jungle rainforest of Peru. Of 193 military recruits, 78 developed an acute febrile illness with varied manifestations. Of these, 72 were found to have acute leptospirosis by a microscopic agglutination test (MAT). An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using antigen was insensitive for the detection of anti-leptospiral IgM antibodies compared with the MAT (20 of 72, 28%). This outbreak of acute undifferentiated febrile illness among Peruvian military recruits was due to leptospirosis. High clinical suspicion, initiation of preventative measures, and performance of appropriate diagnostic testing is warranted in similar settings to identify, treat, and prevent leptospirosis.


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  • Received : 12 Feb 2003
  • Accepted : 26 Apr 2003

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