Leptospirosis Alert

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The Ministry of Health has advised members of the public to wear protective clothing, for example, waterproof gloves and boots, when participating in outdoor??work??or recreational activities, such as gardening??and construction.

This is necessary to reduce exposure to??materials contaminated with Leptospirosis.????

According to Senior Medical Officer of Health – North, Dr. Karen Springer, the disease, which includes flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting, eye inflammation and muscle aches, could be contracted through contact with water, or damp soil or vegetation that is contaminated with the urine of infected animals.??In more severe cases, the illness may result in liver damage and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), kidney failure, and internal bleeding. Persons who are seriously ill with Leptospirosis may be at risk of death and might need to be hospitalised.

The disease may however, be prevented by minimising contact with water, mud, vegetation and foods that might be contaminated with the urine of infected animals, especially rodents, since bacteria can also enter the body through broken skin and if the person swallows contaminated food or water.?? Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria could reach all parts of the body and cause illness.

Although rodents are the main carriers of Leptospirosis in Barbados, the disease may also be transmitted by other animals which carry the leptospirosis organism, including pigs, horses, cattle and dogs.??

Twenty-nine cases of Leptospirosis have been recorded so far this year, while last year, there were 44 cases, resulting in three deaths.??

lisa.bayley@barbados.gov.bb

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