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Outbreak of Leptospirosis after a Race in the Tropical Forest of Martinique

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  • Department of Infectious and Tropical Disease and Department of Bacteriology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Fort de France, Fort de France, Martinique, France; Cellule de l'Institut de Veille Sanitaire en Région, Fort de France, Martinique, France; Pasteur Institute, Paris, France; Clinical Research Center of French West Indies and French Guiana, INSERM CIE 802/Université Antilles-Guyane JE 2503, CHU de Fort de France, Martinique, France

Three athletes who participated in a race in the tropical forest of the Caribbean island of Martinique were subsequently diagnosed with leptospirosis using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We investigated an outbreak to evaluate possible risk factors, and to determine the appropriate public health recommendations. Of 230 athletes, we contacted 148 (64%) and 20 (13.5%) met our case definition. Five were hospitalized and none were fatal. Ten (91%) of the 11 ill athletes who were tested were confirmed by PCR or serology. Serogroup Pyrogenes was commonly found. Cutaneous cuts, reported by 14 (73.7%), was the only potential risk factor using univariate analysis. Sporting event participants in tropical areas should be made aware of specific warnings and recommendations concerning the risk of leptospirosis, especially after periods of heavy rainfall or flooding. Rapid diagnostic assays such as PCR are particularly appropriate in this setting for early diagnosis and for formulating public health recommendations.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Patrick Hochedez, Service de Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Fort de France, BP 632, 97261 Fort de France, Martinique, France. E-mail: patrick.hochedez@chu-fortdefrance.fr

Authors' addresses: Patrick Hochedez and Sylvie Abel, Service de Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Fort de France, Fort de France, Martinique, France, E-mails: patrick.hochedez@chu-fortdefrance.fr and sylvie.abel@chu-fortdefrance.fr. Jacques Rosine and Philippe Quénel, Cellule de l'Institut de Veille Sanitaire en Région, Fort-de-France, Martinique, France, E-mails: Jacques.ROSINE@ars.sante.fr and Philippe.QUENEL@ars.sante.fr. Rafaelle Théodose, Service de Bactériologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Fort de France, Fort de France, Martinique, France, E-mail: rafaelle.theodose@chu-fortdefrance.fr. Pascale Bourhy and Mathieu Picardeau, Unité de Biologie des Spirochètes, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, E-mails: pbourhy@pasteur.fr and mpicard@pasteur.fr. André Cabié, Clinical Research Center of French West Indies and French Guiana, INSERM CIE 802/Université Antilles-Guyane JE 2503, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Fort de France, Fort de France, Martinique, France, E-mail: andre.cabie@chu-fortdefrance.fr.

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