Leptospirosis in Hawaii, 1974-1998: epidemiologic analysis of 353 laboratory-confirmed cases.

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  • 1 Department of Public Health Sciences and Epidemiology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu 96822, USA.

The epidemiologic characterization of leptospirosis in the United States has been limited by difficulties associated with both case detection and confirmation. In addition, leptospirosis was eliminated from the list of National Notifiable Diseases in 1995. From 1974 until the cessation of national surveillance, Hawaii consistently had the highest reported annual incidence rate in the United States. From 1974 through 1998, 752 leptospirosis cases were reported in the State of Hawaii. Of these, 353 had exposures within the state and were laboratory confirmed. The mean annual incidence rate was 1.29 per 100,000. Cases were predominately male. Rates were highest in rural areas. Occupational exposures diminished over time while recreational exposures increased. This series represents the first large U.S. leptospirosis surveillance report since 1979. With leptospirosis recently being identified as a re-emerging zoonosis, continued national surveillance and case reporting should be reconsidered.

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