This section presents data and statistics on leptospirosis notifications. Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial infection that animals can pass to people, including animals such as possums, rats, mice and livestock.  

Factsheets and Metadata

Factsheet: Leptospirosis notifications (December 2021) Download report PDF
Metadata: Leptospirosis notifications (Dec 2021) Download report PDF

Decrease in leptospirosis notifications in 2018 and 2019

In 2019, there were 82 leptospirosis notifications in New Zealand.  The increase in notifications from 2015 to 2017 has not continued.  Instead, the number of notifications has dropped in the last two years. 

Figure 1: Number of leptospirosis notifications, 2001–2019

Males and people living in rural areas have higher rates of leptospirosis

In 2016–19, the leptospirosis notification rate was about seven times as high for males (3.4 per 100,000) as for females (0.5 per 100,000), standardising for age.

In 2017–19, the leptospirosis notification rate was highest for people living in rural areas (8.3 per 100,000), standardising for age.  The notification rate in rural areas was almost 14 times as high as in main urban areas (standardised rate ratio = 13.7, 95% CI 10.3-18.1). 

Most leptospirosis notifications are from people with at-risk occupations

Some jobs increase the risk of leptospirosis. People working directly with animals or involved in their slaughter are at increased risk (eg, farmers, meat workers).

In 2019, most (69.7%) of notifications were from people with at-risk occupations.


See the factsheet for more details (in the Downloads box).

Information about the data

Source: EpiSurv data, Institute of Environmental Science Research (ESR)

Definition: Notifications of confirmed leptospirosis, excluding cases known to have been overseas during the incubation period, as they were unlikely to be infected in New Zealand. 

Notifications of diseases may underestimate the true number of cases of disease, as not everyone will go to a doctor when sick.

For more information, see the metadata sheet. 


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