There are three cases of rare leptospirosis in New York City. It is currently being investigated since it is a sudden appearance and one of the three cases is fatal. This disease is transmitted through rat urine. All three cases occurred in a one-block section of a neighborhood in Bronx.
Although New York records two to three cases of leptospirosis per year this is the first time that the health officials recorded three cases on the same area. All three patients were hospitalized due to kidney and liver failure. One of the infected died.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all. Without treatment; Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.
People get infected when they have been exposed to infected urine of animals. Or they may be exposed to an area that is already contaminated with the rare leptospirosis containing urine of animals. CDC said that the bacteria may enter the body through mucous membranes in the eyes, nose and mouth. People may also acquire the rare leptospirosis by swimming in waters that are already contaminated by infected animal urine. It may be also acquired through accidental consumption of exposed and contaminated food. It can also be present in soil.
According to Live Science, in the US leptospirosis is indeed rare, only about 100-200 cases are reported each year. And 50 percent of which occur in Hawaii. Largest case ever recorded in the US occurred in 1998 where more than 1,000 athletes were potentially exposed to the bacteria.
According to the Science Magazine, rare leptospirosis must be treated with antibiotic as early as possible. To avoid being infected people must wear protective suits and gloves when in need to be exposed to potentially contaminated soil or water. Avoid swimming on suspicious water that might be contaminated with animal urine. Avoid swallowing water from lakes and rivers. Set rodent traps to prevent rare leptospirosis contamination on food for family consumption. Your pets should be vaccinated against rare leptospirosis to prevent possible infections.