Increase in Leptospirosis in Dominica

Leptospirosis is on the rise in Dominica.

It is a serious preventable bacterial disease most often transmitted to humans by exposure to infected rat urine.

Over the last few years the number of cases have increased, and presently there are five confirmed cases of Leptospirosis in Dominica.

Symptoms of the human version include an onset of fever, chills, eye redness, and headache, muscle soreness that resolves spontaneously or after treatment with antibiotics.

Up to 10 percent of infected persons  may develop a serious systemic form of the illness, Weil’s disease, which can result in high fever, jaundice, aseptic meningitis, acute kidney failure, internal bleeding and, occasionally, death.

Although a variety of mammals worldwide harbour the infection, in Dominica the most common carriers are rats, dogs and livestock. Humans do not transmit the infection to others.

Those at highest risk for leptospirosis are those in certain occupations such as farmers, veterinarians, sanitation and sewer workers, and those involved in food preparation who may be exposed to rat-contaminated surroundings including campers and freshwater swimmers

The public is advised to take the some of these measures.

Avoid contact with surfaces and water sources that may be contaminated with rat urine

Keep your home and its surroundings clean and free of garbage

Avoid leaving food where rats or rodents could get to it

Deny access to rats by erecting rodent-proof fences and screens and ensure possible household entry places are blocked off

Farmers should ensure that animal feeds are stored in rat-proof containers

The Ministry continues to maintain their vigilance in ensuring that they prevent the increase of leptospirosis on the island.

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