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Tenants Lash Out During Emergency Meeting Over Rat Disease That Killed 1

17 February 2017

Three people in one city block in the Bronx were diagnosed with leptospirosis within the last two months, after they had become severely ill, the department reported yesterday.

According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the three known victims suffered from acute kidney and liver failure, said The New York Times.

The illness is serious but it can be treated with common antibiotics.

"Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is most commonly spread by contact with rat urine and is very rarely spread from person to person", the statement said.

The Leptospira bacteria will then enter the body through open wounds or mucous membranes, though person-to-person transmission is rare. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters Person to person transmission is rare.

The Health Department says it is taking immediate measures to reduce the rat population in the area. There were just 26 cases reported to the city between 2006 and 2016, with eight of those reports coming from the Bronx. On Monday, Feb. 13, the Health Department confirmed the third case of leptospirosis there and started baiting the basement of the building.

According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Leptospirosis causes a wide range of symptoms.

Two people were diagnosed with leptospirosis in December, and another case was diagnosed in February.

"Everything I wash, I have to use bleach because they run around rampantly like they're part of your house", Howard said. While other animals can catch it, leptospirosis is most frequently spread by rodents.

Symptoms include fever, nausea, muscle aches, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

All the cases of leptospirosis took place within one block radius of Concourse area in Bronx.

Even if residents have complained several times, the super and the landlord of the building did not do anything to solve the issue.

You can protect yourself from contact with rat urine by wearing rubber gloves, especially if you have cuts or sores on your hands or arms.

Masked workers and rat traps were seen at the building during the day Wednesday.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett toured 750 Grand Concourse Wednesday afternoon before addressing the community about the illnesses.

Tenants Lash Out During Emergency Meeting Over Rat Disease That Killed 1