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A rare deadly disease linked to rats has appeared in the Bronx

A rare deadly disease linked to rats has appeared in the Bronx
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Kai Schreiber

A rare disease called leptospirosis has left one person dead, and two others fighting for their lives, in the Bronx.

The cases of the disease, which is linked to rats, were all identified within a one-block radius of the Concourse section of the Bronx. It’s the first time that a cluster of leptospirosis has ever been identified. 

All three of those who were infected had severe symptoms including kidney and liver failure. The bacterial disease is spread through the urine of infected animals. 

In the last ten years, NYC has seen 26 cases of leptospirosis, but the clustering of the cases makes this situation unique as the illness if very rarely passed between humans. The city is now working to reduce the rat population in the neighborhood.

Other symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, muscle aches and nausea. You can find more official information on leptospirosis here.


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Phil S
Phil S

How exactly could people get infected? I can't imagine a possible scenario if as written it's spread through the urine of rats.

julie s
julie s

there was a dead rat in Central Park this morning just as you enter via the 63rd st entrance. I wonder how it died, it was intact and in the open.  I saw it about 8:30 am and was just speaking with someone who also saw it around noonish, so it is still there. who do we contact to have it evaluated for leptospirosis?