Did you hear about the sea lion that bit a teenager in California one summer? ๐Ÿ‘‚Turns out sea lions can carry a spirochete (spiral shaped organism) that can cause an emerging infectious disease called Leptospirosis.

Outbreaks in humans are usually seasonal and associated with flooding or activities involving exposure to contaminated water or animal tissues, such as veterinary work, swimming, hunting, and farming. ๐ŸŒพ

Some hosts play home to these spirochetes within the kidney lacking in symptoms and shedding the leptospires in their urine for months or years while others experience a range of symptoms from malaise to multi-organ failure and death! ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Bottom line: Keep a 50 foot distance from sea lions. ๐Ÿ‘‹

Lloyd-Smith, J.O., Greig, D.J., Hietala, S., Ghneim, G.S., Palmer, L., St. Leger, J., Grenfell, B.T., and Gulland, F.M.D. 2007. Cyclical changes in seroprevalence of leptospirosis in California sea lions: endemic and epidemic disease in one host species? BioMed Central Infectious Disease 7: 125.


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