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.  We are in the process of updating the data on leptospirosis notifications.

Large increase in notifications 2016 to 2017

In 2016, there were 79 leptospirosis notifications in New Zealand. Provisional data from 2017 showed a large increase to 142 notifications.

Figure 1: Number of leptospirosis notifications, 2001–2017

Higher leptospirosis notification rates for males and people living in rural areas

In 2014–16, the leptospirosis notification rate was higher for males (2.4 per 100,000) than for females (0.2 per 100,000), standardising for age.

In 2014–16, the leptospirosis notification rate was highest for people living in rural areas (6.0 per 100,000), standardising for age.  The notification rate in rural areas was almost 20 times as high as main urban areas (standardised rate ratio = 19.2, 13.0-28.3). 

Highest leptospirosis notification rates in Hawke's Bay, West Coast, Wairarapa and Whanganui DHBs

In 2012–16, the district health boards (DHBs) with the highest leptospirosis notification rates were Hawke’s Bay, West Coast, Wairarapa and Whanganui DHBs. 

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 who had been overseas during the incubation period, as they were unlikely to be infected in New Zealand. 

2017 data is provisional and from published data of total leptospirosis notifications from the ESR website [1]. It includes cases who were overseas during the incubation period.  However, this is unlikely to be the reason for the large increase in notifications from 2016 to 2017.

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. 


1.ESR. 2018. Annual Notifiable Disease Tables by age, sex, ethnic group 2017.  Wellington, New Zealand: Institute of Environmental Science Research (ESR). URL: https://surv.esr.cri.nz/surveillance/annual_diseasetables.php (accessed 4 March 2019). 

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