Dominican Republic reports more than 50 leptospirosis deaths in 2016
Dominican Republic health authorities have confirmed 51 leptospirosis related fatalities this year as the country reports higher than normal levels of the bacterial infection in 2016, according to a Acento report (computer translated).
The Director of Risk Management and Disaster Assistance, José Luis Cruz, acknowledged that the incidence of the disease is very high at this time, around twice the normal.
According to the latest Epidemiological Bulletin of the Ministry of Public Health between Weeks 45 and 48, there were 73 suspected cases of leptospirosis, an increase in relation to what was expected in the epidemic index equivalent to 1.47%.
In addition, during this period, the lethality increased from 14 to 33%, a circumstance that is explained by the floods that affected the country during October and November.
At present, the provinces of Santiago, Puerto Plata and Montecristi are the ones with the highest number of suspected cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.
Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.
Humans can become infected through:
- contact with urine (or other body fluids, except saliva) from infected animals
- contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.
The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters. Person to person transmission is rare.