There have been several cases of leptospirosis in New York City, but this is the first time a cluster of cases has been identified. From 2006 to 2016, there have been 26 cases reported in the city, with the highest number of cases occurring in the Bronx. However, despite these recent cases, there is no proof that rat urine can kill humans. But the possibility remains. Let’s take a closer look at this rare disease and how it spreads.
Leptospirosis is a viral infection spread through contact with rat urine. It can cause severe health problems including liver and kidney failure. In more severe cases, leptospirosis can even lead to death. Other diseases transmitted by rat urine include typhus and hantavirus. Thankfully, rat urine infection is treatable with common antibiotics. Infection symptoms may include diarrhea, fever, chills, and vomiting.
The bacteria that causes leptospirosis is passed to humans through the urine of animals, and they often come into contact with human faeces in sewer systems. While rat urine is the most likely culprit in human cases, it can be spread by wild animals and domestic livestock. However, farm and domestic livestock generally present far less of a risk than rats. Regardless of how you come in contact with rat urine, it is still important to wash thoroughly after exposure.
Aside from rat urine, the bacteria can also be transferred through contaminated water and food. While most people who come into contact with rat urine will experience mild aches and fever, one in ten cases will experience more severe symptoms, including a high fever and jaundice. If left untreated, leptospirosis may require hospitalization.