Epidemiological and clinical aspects of 50 consecutive patients, 47 adults and three children, hospitalized between 1977 and 1987 for human leptospirosis, were reviewed. 45 (90%) of the patients were from rural regions. 32 (64%) cases occurred in individuals at occupational risk for the infection. 35 (70%) cases were registered in the warm season. The source of infection was known in 34 (68%) cases. Weil's disease was diagnosed in 31 (62%) patients, aseptic meningitis in 12 (24%) and acute unexplained fever in seven (14%). Haemodialysis was required for 11 (35%) patients with Weil's disease. Three (6%) patients died. Cause of death was massive gastrointestinal haemorrhage in two and renal failure in one. Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae was responsible for 39 (78%) cases, Leptospira canicola for six (12%), Leptospira grippotyphosa for two (4%), and Leptospira australis, Leptospira ballum and Leptospira sejroe, for one case each. A muscle biopsy was performed in six patients and a renal biopsy in three. Focal necrotic muscular changes, with mild mononuclear infiltrate, were found. Pigmented casts in distal convoluted tubules, mild interstitial inflammatory infiltrate and mesangial enlargement of some glomeruli were observed in kidney biopsies. A good knowledge of the protean clinical manifestations of leptospirosis and an accurate laboratory study are required for a correct diagnosis.