Fighting Leptospirosis: a Neglected Global Disease


GLEAN is a multisector, multidisciplinary consortium devoted to the fight against leptospirosis. KIT Royal Tropical Institute is involved as a major contributor, supporting the detection and control of this infectious disease that affects over 1 million people a year globally.

A global burden

Leptospirosis is an endemic and epidemic zoonotic disease with global distribution, which is particularly common in warm and humid tropical and subtropical regions. The global burden of leptospirosis ranks it in the top of neglected infectious diseases.

There are over one million severe cases annually, with a case fatality rate of 6%. The veterinary impact of the disease is largely unknown but expected to be considerable. The epidemiology and notably the dynamics of outbreaks are poorly understood.

Detect, Predict, Intervene, and Prevent

GLEAN is a consortium devoted to the fight against leptospirosis. In collaboration with other international initiatives, GLEAN adopts a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectorial approach and builds upon the leptospirosis efforts that have already been undertaken.

The GLEAN mission is to reduce the impact that leptospirosis outbreaks have on communities throughout developing countries through providing cost-effective, implementable and sustainable solutions following two main objectives:

  • coordinate the acquisition and use of knowledge with respect to disease prediction, prevention, detection and intervention
  • translate relevant research findings into operational tools for affected communities and countries as well as for organizational actors

To achieve this purpose, GLEAN comprises four working groups Detect, Predict, Intervene, and Prevent.

Advancing detection for early diagnosis

Case detection is key to early outbreak warning, intervention and, in the end, prediction and prevention. KIT is participant in each of the four working groups and is leading the working group Detect focused on adequate, early diagnostics. Because leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease requiring a One Health approach, it is anticipated that veterinary implications will be integrated in GLEAN’s activities.