Leptospirosis, also called Weil’s disease, is a disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria. The disease is carried mainly by rodents, especially rats and similar small mammals. The bacteria are found in the urine of the infected animals.

Infection is through direct or indirect exposure to urine contaminated water or soil. Therefore those with occupational or recreational exposures are at greatest risk, such as:

  • farmers
  • veterinarians
  • sewage workers
  • sailors
  • divers
  • outdoor swimmers

Leptospirosis is rare in the UK and more common in tropical areas of the world.

Information about the symptoms and treatment of leptospirosis is available on the NHS Choices website.


Information for travellers on leptospirosis is available on the fitfortravel website.

Data and surveillance

Surveillance reports

Data tables

Leptospira spp., Scotland: annual totals as at 21 January 2022
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020*
Leptospira spp. 5 4 1 2 3 3 5 4 1 1


* 2020 data remains provisional

Data source: Public Health Scotland