1 per­son dies, 2 ill from rat-re­lated dis­ease

Sun.Star Pampanga - - WORLD! -

NEW

YORK -- New York City health de­part­ment of­fi­cials are tar­get­ing a Bronx neigh­bor­hood af­ter one per­son died and two oth­ers be­came se­verely ill from con­tract­ing a rare dis­ease trans­mit­ted by rats.

The three cases of lep­tospiro­sis oc­curred in the last two months within a one block ra­dius.

Although New York City typ­i­cally gets one to three cases of lep­tospiro­sis every year, city of­fi­cials said it's the first time a clus­ter of cases has been iden­ti­fied.

"This ill­ness can be se­ri­ous but is treat­able with read­ily avail­able an­tibi­otics," health of­fi­cials said in a state­ment.

In­fec­tions com­monly oc­cur through ex­po­sure to rat urine. It can be con­tracted through open wounds and cuts in the skin, or through the eyes, nose or mouth. The dis­ease is rarely spread from per­son to per son.

The city said it's re­duc­ing the rat pop­u­la­tion in the area and ed­u­cat­ing res­i­dents about the dis­ease.

In a build­ing in which one of the pa­tients was di­ag­nosed with lep­tospiro­sis, health of­fi­cials said they found signs of rat in­fes­ta­tion in the base­ment.

At an emer­gency meet­ing Wed­nes­day night, an­gry res­i­dents com­plained about the rat prob­lem and blasted city of­fi­cials and the build­ing's owner for fail­ing them.

Demo­cratic Mayor Bill de Bla­sio later re­leased a state­ment say­ing the city was "work­ing with hous­ing ad­vo­cates and ten­ants to lodge an ac­tion against the land­lord to take over op­er­a­tions."

Twenty-six cases of lep­tospiro­sis were re­ported in New York City be­tween 2006 and 2016, ac­cord­ing to health de­part­ment fig­ures.

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