Black Jaundice Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Black Jaundice is waterborne disease occurring due to presence of bacteria inside human body. Preliminary condition of disease is known as Leptospirosis while severe condition is known as Weil’s disease.


Black jaundice, also known as Weil’s disease is a severe infection which is triggered by Leptospirainterrogans, which is a corkscrew shaped bacterium occurring globally. Several serotypes of these bacteria are also found which cause Black jaundice. It is spread when individuals make contact with vegetation, wet soil or fresh water which is adulterated by urine, blood or tissues of animals that have this disease. These animals can be rats, cattle, pigs, dogs or horses. This bacterium enters the human body through drinking the contaminated water, broken skin, mucous membranes or skin softened by water.

People who are prone to Black jaundice are veterinarians, farmers, sewer workers, slaughterhouse workers or military staffs. People who participate in water or adventure sports like swimming, wading or white water rafting can also get this infection. It can be detected with simple urine tests in case symptoms occur. The disease mostly occurs in areas with more rainfall, especially in tropical areas.


Black jaundice infection could have no symptoms or could lead to being fatal. The disease has flu like symptoms but in many cases it may affect several body parts like liver, kidneys, lungs, heart or brain. The disease occurs in two phases:

First phase:

During first phase, which lasts from 5-7 days, the patient may experience high fever, vomits, diarrhea, ache in thigh and calf muscles, red eyes, rashes, headaches, cough, loss of appetite or chills. These symptoms can become severe if not treated timely.

Second phase:

This is the immune phase which may last for one or two weeks. The patient experiences symptoms like jaundice in which skin and eyes become yellow. Other symptoms are: kidney failure, lung problems, erratic heart beat, Meningitis or brain fever, weight loss, fatigue, decrease in urination, shortness of breath or red eyes.


As soon as you suspect having disease, it is crucial to contact doctor immediately. Doctor may prescribe additional treatments to prevent long term complications. People suffering from black jaundice are treated with antibiotics; however, severe infections in which complex symptoms like kidney function failure occurs, may require hospitalization. Mild cases of black jaundice resolve themselves and do not require much treatment. However severe cases are treated with penicillin and doxycycline and patient is usually hospitalized to give regular antibiotics. Glucose solutions and salt water intake can help in treating black jaundice.

Some cases may require additional treatment in accordance to the affected organ. In cases of troubled breathing ventilator is required while in cases of damaged kidney, dialysis is done. Process of treatment comprises of two stages which are: suppressing the cause and combating probable complications.

Prevention is better than cure so get animals vaccinated and get protected from the disease causing bacteria. Long term immunity from vaccines has not been achieved yet. Human vaccines are not available till now so keep domestic animals Glucose and salt solution infusions may be administered; dialysis is used in serious cases. Elevations of serum potassium are common and if the potassium level gets too high special measures must be taken. Serum phosphorus levels may likewise increase to unacceptable levels due to kidney failure.

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