Although New York City typically sees about one to three cases of leptospirosis per year, this is the first time that health officials have identified a cluster of leptospirosis cases (meaning more than a single case occurring in the same place around the same time) in the city, the DOHMH said.
Representatives from the city's health department were stationed in the lobby of 750 Grand Concourse Tuesday night, where they handed out notices to tenants warning them of the cluster of cases. "From 2006 to 2016, 26 cases were reported in the city", it reports, and "the Bronx had the highest number, eight". It is usually treatable with antibiotics.
Daskalakis also noted that the patient who died had suffered an infection, but though all three were hospitalized with acute renal [kidney] and hepatic [liver] failure, the two surviving patients have completely recovered.
Two people were diagnosed with leptospirosis in December, and another case was diagnosed in February.
Officials said they planned to hold an emergency meeting Wednesday night to inform the NY community about leptospirosis and just how deadly it can be, said NBC 4 News.
Despite those precautions, residents said staying away from areas where rats live is out of their control, considering the huge populations of rats in the city. Officials say the disease is very rare. The bacteria can cause infection if they enter the body through eyes, nose, mouth or through open wounds or cuts in the skin.
Some people may have no symptoms, while others may develop a fever, a headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea. Additionally, washing hands thoroughly after any contact with areas where rats may have urinated is recommended.
All three of those who were infected had severe symptoms including kidney and liver failure.
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