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by Nemislenina

noctuabunda in science_beta

Leptospirosis, infectious disease

Hi everyone,

this question is about an infectious disease. The place is England, near London, the time is 1748.
I googled Leptospirosis and Morbus Weil.

So, in my story there's a robber who is wounded and tries to escape through the sewer system. However, a policeman catches up with him and, when the robber is lying on the ground, puts his foot on the wound. In the end, the robber can escape, but he's been infected with Leptospirosis through the (very likely) contaminated water.

So, researching Leptospirosis, I found that German sites say there's more than one version of Leptospirosis, some fairly harmless, and one extremely dangerous - that'd be Morbus Weil.
However, in English Leptospirosis and Morbus Weil/Weil's disease seem to be used synonymously.
Now, my problem is, I want the robber to survive and suffer no longterm effects (minor inconveniences would be okay, but nothing serious), and with the hygienic and medical conditions of the 18th century, this seems highly unlikely if he actually gets Weil's disease. Also, he can't really get proper medical attention since that would mean he would have to leave his hiding place. He does have medically untrained friends who try to help him though.

So, do you think there's a way he can get ill and recover without any medical attention?
How much longer would it take for him to recover?

I'd be extremely grateful for any help!

X-posted to science_beta and little_details


The Leptospirosis Information Centre has pages about infection, symptoms and recovery times, for the public and for health professionals. Have a look at this overview, which probably gives plenty of detail for fiction purposes. As only a minority of cases of infection seem to go on to develop Weil's Disease, then I don't see any problem with your robber getting better on his own.

Edited at 2008-09-21 11:43 pm (UTC)
o_O I have no idea how I could miss this... thank you so very much!
:-) You're welcome!
The immune system is a funny, fickle thing. Two people can be exposed to the exact same thing, in the exact same way, yet react completely differently. Almost every person has been exposed to Epstein-Barr by the age of 21, but not everyone gets mononucleosis. Why? We don't know. So I think it's very reasonable to say that your robber could be exposed, and with minimal care would be fine.

Good luck writing! :)
Thank you1