Fiji: Leptospirosis cases climb to 166
The Fiji Health Ministry reported 166 leptospirosis cases as of Apr. 30, up 100 cases from earlier in the month, local media reports.
The Ministry is working to address the increase in cases and is advising those who may be affected to seek medical assistance immediately.
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.