Diseased rat urine kills New Yorker in outbreak of rare illness

By REUTERS
February 15, 2017 22:30

 
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Diseased rat urine has killed at least one person and sickened two others in New York City in an outbreak of a rarely seen infection, prompting calls from city officials on Wednesday for a renewed effort to cull the rodent population.

The outbreak of leptospirosis began in December and all three cases were traced to a single-block area of the Bronx, New York's northernmost borough, the city's health department said in a statement on Tuesday.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread by rodents and certain other animals that can cause fever, vomiting and kidney damage. It can be treated with antibiotics but is sometimes deadly.

Two people were diagnosed in December and the third in February, the department said. While one died, the other two have since recovered. The department did not identify the patients, nor say exactly how it thought the three people were exposed to the infected rat urine. Typically, humans get infected through contact with tainted water.

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