(Newswire.net — February 16, 2017) –For the last two months, three people were infected with a rare disease called Leptospirosis in New York’s Bronx borough.
Two patients were hospitalized in December 2016, and one this month. They all suffered liver and kidney failure, and two had pulmonary hemorrhage, which is a form of an acute internal bleeding in the lungs.
All of them were in the same block radius of the Concourse area of the Bronx.
The infection occurs when a person comes in contact with the urine of an infected rat, usually over an injury on the skin, or through contact with the mucus membranes of the mouth and eyes.
Leptospirosis is rarely transmitted from person to person, but can be treated with antibiotics.
New York authorities have announced their efforts to reduce the number of rats and educate citizens about the disease.
The New York Times reports that more than 26 people in New York City were infected by Leptospirosis from 2006 to 2016.
The Health Department requested hospitals and doctors to inform them about the reported cases, and urged the citizens to appeal to all those who have the described symptoms to contact a doctor, as there are concerns that other people living in the same area might also come down with the potentially fatal illness.
Bronx state Senator, Ruben Diaz Sr, said that he is concerned. “This is the first I’m hearing about it… The infection is putting our community in danger”, Senator Diaz said.
The symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, headaches, sensitivity to bright light, redness similar to conjunctivitis, nausea, vomiting, and muscle pain, especially in the calves and lower back. They can appear between a few days and 30 days after exposure, but usually they are reported to begin after 5 to 14 days, the Heath Department explained.
They also recommended washing hands before eating, and after cleaning areas that may had rat urine on them.
The Department of Health reported in a statement that only 26 people in New York City have contracted the life-threatening disease since 2006: eight in the Bronx, seven in Manhattan, six in Brooklyn, four in Queens and one in Staten Island.