Rare Bacteria Found in Rat Urine Sickens Three Bronx Residents, Officials Say

Three people living on a single block in Concourse in the Bronx were diagnosed with leptospirosis a bacterial infection caused by rat urine

Three people living on a single block in Concourse in the Bronx were diagnosed with leptospirosis a bacterial infection caused by rat urine

The three cases of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread by animal urine, were identified in a block of the Concourse area of the borough.

A rare disease called leptospirosis has left one person dead, and two others fighting for their lives, in the Bronx. One of them has died, while the other two have recovered.

The two patients were infected in December and one in February.

One of the issues with diagnosing leptospirosis is that the initial symptoms-if present-are quite nonspecific, so it may initially just appear that you have the flu or a viral syndrome, which many assume will improve with supportive care such as medicine for fever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Flores spent continuous two weeks at the hospital. The department did not specifically identify the location of the cluster.

In October 2010 British Olympic gold medal rower Andy Holmes died after contracting the disease.

Residents at the apartment complex shared that the situation was bad. Due to the evacuation, several residents were inconvenienced. "He had a bad fever; his whole body ached; he looked awful", she said in Spanish.

On average there are three reported cases a year in the city, but this is the first time a cluster has occurred. The infection thrives in warm, most environments in both rural and urban settings, officials said.

The sexes and ages of those infected were not available.

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Oh God. A rare and deadly illness linked to rats has infected three people in the Bronx, killing one.

The Department of Health has shared that the disease flared up on a small scale in Brooklyn in 2009, but only dogs were affected.

The acteria can enter the skin through open wounds, cuts, and contact with eyes, nose or mouth.

The disease is rarely spread person-to-person.

City health officials are monitoring an outbreak of a rare bacterial infection in the Bronx.

All three of the victims resided at or near 750 Grand Concourse, where people were living illegally in eight rat-infested basement apartments.

Officials recommend washing hands thoroughly if you come into contact with areas where rats may live; always wearing shoes while taking garbage to the trash compactor room; and avoiding contact with rats or places where they may have urinated.

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