Preventing Leptospirosis

The Ministry of Health is reminding the public of the dangers of swimming or wading in water which has resulted from flooding or eating foods that might have been contaminated with animal urine.

The Ministry is advising parents and caregivers especially, to ensure that children do not play in these waters or eat such foods that may be affected, as they can easily be infected with diseases such as Leptospirosis.

This can occur by swallowing the contaminated food or water or through contact with the eyes, nose or through broken skin. Symptoms of Leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhea and rash.

Parents are being advised that if any of these symptoms occur, they should seek medical attention immediately as leptospirosis should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. If the disease is not treated, the person can develop kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and respiratory distress, and in rare cases death.

The Health Ministry is reminding persons who are exposed to contaminated water or soil because of the nature of their job, to wear protective clothing and footwear.

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by Leptospira bacteria and is transmitted to humans from domestic animals such as dogs, cattle, pigs and horses as well as rodents. The disease is not spread from person to person.