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Forty one confirmed cases of leptospirosis have been reported in Barbados for 2011, two of which have resulted in fatalities – the highest number of cases on record since statistics have been collected.

This was disclosed at a recent press briefing by the Ministry of Health.

According to health officials, the dangerous bacteria is not spread solely by rodents but by farm animals, household pets and possibly insects. With this in mind, the Ministry of Health is urging the public to maintain clean surroundings and to be cognisant about the causes and symptoms of leptospirosis.

Director of the Leptospirosis Lab, Dr. Marquita Gittens-Hilaire, said: "We’ve also found that there are specific species of leptospirosis that have been discovered in dogs as well as in humans". She added, that this did not mean the strain of the disease was specific to dogs but, rather, that it may have been acquired from rodents. "In any instance the possibility is that there is general transfer of the organism from a rodent to some other vector who then transmits it," she asserted.

Head of the Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health, Tyrone Applewaite, disclosed that African Giant Snails were also a possible meal source for the rodents. With this in mind, Mr. Applewaite advised Barbadians to do everything possible to deter carriers and attractors of the dangerous bacteria.


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