Rare Bacterial Infection Kills One, Sickens Two In Bronx



New York Health Department officials gave the reported rat-infested apartment location a vacate order for the basement apartments for health and safety concerns. The CDC says that without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress and death.

"This is the first time a cluster of cases has been identified", he continued. According to the CDC, only about 100 to 200 leptospirosis cases are reported each year in the United States.

Health officials are holding a meeting for tenants of the building on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.in the lobby. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all. While one person has died, the other two have recovered and are doing well, according to health officials.

Three people in The Bronx have been sickened, one fatally, with a rare disease called leptospirosis, which is transmitted through rat urine. Over the past decade, scientists in a number of cities have launched efforts to better understand rat behavior and evolution, and the role they play in spreading disease. The statement went on to say that while the illness is serious it is usually treatable with antibiotics.

The disease is rarely spread person-to-person. Rat urine can enter the body through your eyes, nose, or mouth, or through wounds and cuts in your skin, the department says. Some people who are infected may not develop symptoms, while others may have a mild illness with fever, headache chills, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea.

In the last ten years, NYC has seen 26 cases of leptospirosis, but the clustering of the cases makes this situation unique as the illness if very rarely passed between humans.

The Health Department urges people to avoid rats and wash thoroughly if you do come in contact with them. If someone comes in contact with areas where rats might live, the department suggests washing hands with soap and water afterward.

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