Rare Bacterial Infection Kills One, Sickens Two In Bronx

A disease that is commonly spread by rats has killed one man in New York, and sickened two others, CBS New York reported.

All three victims had severe illness and were hospitalized with acute kidney and liver failure, the alert says, while one person who developed a pulmonary hemorrhage died as a result of an infection it caused.

Health officials say there are typically one to three cases of the illness in New York City each year. Two of the patients recovered while one has died.

The three Bronx cases all occurred on the same block in the borough's Concourse neighborhood.

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Three people in New York City recently became sick with a rare bacterial disease called leptospirosis that they might have contracted from rats, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

Diaz also said he frequently hears complaints about rodents and rats, and not just from those who live in the Bronx.

The Health Department says it is taking immediate measures to reduce the rat population in the area.

Leptospirosis can be caught through open wounds and cuts on the skin, or through contact with eyes, nose or mouth.

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Some people may have no symptoms, while others may develop a fever, a headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea.

As a letter issued Tuesday to heath-care providers noted: "Human leptospirosis cases are very rare in New York City; this is the first time a cluster of cases has been identified". "We have been in contact with the elected officials in the area, we've been in contact with the city". City officials advise concerned residents to avoid contact with rats or places where rats may have urinated, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, use a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water to clean possibly affected areas and wear shoes and protective gear in rat-prone locations.

If you can not avoid areas where rats have been seen, or are cleaning areas where rats have been, use a solution of one part household bleach and 10 parts water to kill the leptospirosis bacteria.

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