Leptospirosis is a type of bacterial infection spread by animals. It's caused by a strain of bacteria called leptospira.

In 90% of cases, leptospirosisonly causes mild flu-like symptoms, such as aheadache, chills and muscle pain.

However, in some cases the infection is more severe and can cause life-threatening problems, including organ failure and internal bleeding. In its most severe form, leptospirosis is also known as Weil's disease.

The common mild symptoms mean most leptospirosis infections are hard to diagnose. Diagnosis is easier if the infection causes more serious problems.

You can catch it by touching soil or water contaminated with the urine of wild animals infected with the leptospira bacteria.

Animals known to be carriers of the leptospira bacteria include cattle, pigs, dogs and rodents, particularly rats.

Although the condition isuncommon in the UK, people who regularly deal with animals, such as farmers and vets, have a higher risk of developing leptospirosis.

You may also be at a higher risk if you frequentlycome intocontact withrivers and lakes.This might be because of your occupation or through taking part in activities such as water sports and fishing.

It's incredibly rare forit to spreadbetween humans.

If you're self-employed, you should report it yourself.

You can read more about Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulationson the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 4 Jan 2017