New York City has reported a rise in human cases of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that the metropolis reviews has been unfold by rats.

In a late September advisory, the metropolis’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported that 14 cases of human leptospirosis had been recognized this yr, a quantity it mentioned was greater than the whole quantity reported to the metropolis’s well being division in any earlier yr.

Cases had been recognized in all boroughs besides Staten Island with “no obvious clustering.” 


Thirteen out of the 14 individuals have been hospitalized with acute renal and hepatic failure and two of the sufferers reportedly additionally had extreme pulmonary involvement. 

One particular person died because of an infection and all others have been handled and discharged.

Three of these contaminated have been reported to be experiencing homelessness and one particular person was touring when contaminated. 

Most of the cases had a “clear history or risk factor” that uncovered them to an atmosphere with a extreme rat infestation, the advisory noted.

A rat runs along the High Line Park on Sept. 22, 2018 in New York City. 

A rat runs alongside the High Line Park on Sept. 22, 2018 in New York City. 
(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A well being official reportedly told Insider that there was a fifteenth case of the zoonotic disease final week and that the particular person contaminated seems to have recovered.

The division’s Division of Disease Control Deputy Commissioner Celia Quinn famous that the well being division had been conducting inspections and dealing with property house owners to conduct rat remediation. 

Last May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that rats have been seemingly to grow to be extra aggressive due to the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The division mentioned New York City has documented a complete of 57 cases between 2006 and 2020.

In 2017, a Bronx neighborhood was focused by the well being division after one particular person died and two others grew to become severely ailing from leptospirosis, together with a person with the first documented case of testicular swelling related to the disease.


Animals and pets may also fall ailing and New York issued a veterinary medical alert that very same yr.

The Big Apple is residence to tens of millions of rats and positioned third on Orkin’s list of America’s “Rattiest Cities,” behind Chicago and Los Angeles.

According to the CDC, leptospirosis an infection in people occurs by contact with urine from contaminated animals or different bodily fluids – with the exception of saliva – or contact with water, soil or meals contaminated with the urine of contaminated animals.

Symptoms of the disease embody excessive fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, crimson eyes, stomach ache, diarrhea and a rash. However, some individuals might expertise no signs in any respect.

Three rats scavenge for food on the subway platform at Herald Square Sept. 3, 2017 in New York City. 

Three rats scavenge for meals on the subway platform at Herald Square Sept. 3, 2017 in New York City. 
(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

The time between an individual’s publicity to the contaminated supply and turning into sick ranges from two days to 4 weeks. 

After the first section of the disease, the affected person might get well however grow to be ailing once more and the second section is extra extreme, main to kidney harm, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory misery and dying.

The sickness lasts anyplace from a couple of days to greater than three weeks and restoration may take a number of months with out therapy. 

Leptospirosis is handled with antibiotics, reminiscent of doxycycline or penicillin, which must be given early on in the course of the disease. 

People can cut back the threat of buying the sickness by not swimming in contaminated water or eliminating contact with probably contaminated animals.

The company famous that leptospirosis is most typical in temperate or tropical climates and that incidence of leptospirosis an infection amongst city kids seems to be rising.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.