Puerto Rico has deaths from pos­si­ble dis­ease

Four die as peo­ple turn to streams out of thirst

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NATION - By Michael Melia The As­so­ci­ated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Four deaths in Hur­ri­cane Maria’s af­ter­math are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as pos­si­ble cases of a dis­ease spread by an­i­mals’ urine, Puerto Rico’s gover­nor said amid con­cerns about is­landers’ exposure to con­tam­i­nated water.

A to­tal of 10 peo­ple have come down with sus­pected cases of lep­tospiro­sis, Gov. Ri­cardo Ros­sello said at a news con­fer­ence.

On a U.S. ter­ri­tory where a third of cus­tomers re­main with­out run­ning water three weeks af­ter the hur­ri­cane, some be­came ill af­ter turn­ing to lo­cal streams to re­lieve their thirst.

Jorge An­to­nio Sanyet Mo­rales, a 61-year-old bus driver, took a drink from a stream near his con­crete home on a hill­side in Canovanas a week af­ter the Sept. 20 storm. He then de­vel­oped a fever, his skin turned yel­low and within a week, he died at a hospi­tal in Carolina, ac­cord­ing to his widow, Mar­itza Rivera.

The water was still not run­ning at Sanyet’s house this week, but Rivera said she and her fam­ily were drink­ing only bot­tled water, in­clud­ing some de­liv­ered by the town.

“He was a friend to ev­ery­one,” Ri- vera said. “I don’t know how I’ll face ev­ery­thing with­out him.”

Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Hur­ri­cane Maria, which tore across the is­land with 150 mph winds. Ninety per­cent of the is­land is still with­out power and the govern­ment says it hopes to have elec­tric­ity re­stored com­pletely by March.

Mean­while, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion or­dered two big cor­po­ra­tions this week to pay $115 mil­lion to clean up a Texas toxic waste site that may have spread dan­ger­ous lev­els of pol­lu­tion dur­ing flood­ing from Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency Ad­min­is­tra­tor Scott Pruitt signed a di­rec­tive re­quir­ing In­ter­na­tional Pa­per and Mcgin­nis In­dus­trial Main­te­nance Corp., a sub­sidiary of Waste Man­age­ment Inc., to ex­ca­vate 212,000 cu­bic yards of con­tam­i­nated sed­i­ments from the San Jac­into River Waste Pits.

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