Thursday, December 2

New York on alert for outbreak of rare disease transmitted by rats


New York City suffers from an outbreak of a rare disease called leptospirosis, which is linked to rats, as reported by health authorities.

This disease is transmitted by bacteria that could be found in fresh water that has had contact with the urine of animals, such as rats.; Leptospirosis is not spread from person to person, except in very rare cases.

Last month, the city health department reported 14 cases of leptospirosis, an unusually high number with a total of 57 cases documented in 15 years in New York alone.

Health authorities alerted doctors and hospitals to watch out for symptoms, as of the first 14 cases, 13 people were hospitalized with acute kidney and liver failure, and one person died as a result of an infection. Three of the infected people were homeless.

Health authorities alerted doctors and hospitals to be aware of the symptoms of leptospirosis. (Photo: Getty Images)

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections in the kidneys, liver, brain, lungs, or heart.

How can I get Leptospirosis?

The two most common ways to get leptospirosis are by drinking or having contact with contaminated water, such as swimming in a lake; In addition, you could also contract the disease by being exposed to soil that has been contaminated by urine from infected animals.

The second is by having direct contact with body fluids from infected animals.

What are the symptoms of leptospirosis?

Symptoms of leptospirosis can occur from 2 days to 4 weeks after being exposed to the bacteria; the most common symptoms are

Fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), rash, and red eyes.

What animals can transmit leptospirosis?

The animals that usually present or transmit leptospirosis are the following:

Rodents, raccoons, possums, cattle, pigs, dogs, horses, buffalo, sheep, and goats.

How can leptospirosis be prevented?

Several steps can be taken to help prevent leptospirosisHow to attend the vet so that your pets are checked and given vaccines that protect them against this disease; avoid contact with urine or body fluids of animals, especially if you have cuts or scrapes on the skin; do not swim or walk through water that may contain animal urine and do not swallow it.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics and some people do not experience any symptoms, although one in ten cases progress to serious complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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