Ministry of Health warns outbreak of Leptospirosis has not subsided; confirms two deaths from the disease

Rats are the main transmitters of leptospirosis virus

The Ministry of Health in Dominica wishes to inform the general public that the outbreak of Leptospirosis announced by the Ministry last year has not yet subsided.  While most of the cases have recovered completely there were two confirmed deaths from Leptospirosis. This is of much concern to the Ministry.

Although a variety of mammals worldwide harbor the infection, in Dominica the most common carriers of Leptospirosis are rats, dogs and livestock. Humans do not transmit the infection to others.

Humans become infected through contact with water, food or soil containing urine from infected animals.

A person suffering from Leptospirosis usually present with fever chills, eye redness, headache and muscle ache.

Severe cases of the illness can result in liver damage and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes), kidney failure, damage to the lungs, bleeding in the brain and death.

The non severe form of the disease can be easily confused with other diseases such as the common flu, and dengue fever. A laboratory test is needed to confirm a suspected case.

The Ministry of Health urges clinicians to consider the diagnosis of Leptospirosis in patients who complain of flu-like symptoms and have been exposed to the urine of rats or other animals.

People traditionally at highest risk for Leptospirosis have been those engaged in certain occupations such as farmers, veterinarians, sanitation and sewer workers. Persons involved in food preparation may be exposed to rat-contaminated surroundings when hygienic measures are unsatisfactory.  Campers and hikers exposed to rat contaminated water and soil are also at risk for developing the disease.

The Rodent Reduction Program in Dominica is ongoing. Environmental Health Officials have commenced the Rodent Reduction Program in some Health Districts and the program will be extended to the other health districts in the near future.

The Ministry of Health is continuing the implementation of an action plan developed to respond effectively to the situation and advises the public to take the following measures.

•    Avoid contact with surfaces and water sources that may be contaminated with rat urine
•    Keep your home and its surroundings clean and free of garbage
•    Avoid leaving food where rats or rodents could get to it. Keep food in  covered containers
•    Prevent access to rats by erecting rodent-proof fences and screens and ensure possible household entry places are blocked off
•    Farmers should ensure that animal feeds are stored in rat-proof containers
•    Wear protective clothing, shoes and gloves to avoid coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, water source or food.
•    Seek medical attention if you suspect you have any symptoms of Leptospirosis.

The Ministry of Health continues to urge the general public to be very vigilant in preventing the increase of Leptospirosis on the island.

Brochures on Leptospirosis are available at the Health Promotion Resource Centre.

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21 Comments

  1. 4-cars
    September 17, 2015

    Look at what Dominicans eating! Ratnicou/a small manicou. Chaa

  2. Christiana
    June 5, 2011

    You’ve hit the ball out the park! Irnecdible!

  3. hmmmmmmmmmm
    May 18, 2011

    wat cockroach dat

  4. God always
    May 18, 2011

    why do we behave like this…let us keep tidy,be vigilant and get rid of all the rats.
    we just talk to much always on the radio bla bla bla

    let us get out in the community and on the streets, villages and educate people and actually help and show them

    Are we like welfare division on all programs and not doin a thing

  5. sackwaygas
    May 18, 2011

    well lets put it dat way since rats so dangerous let’s declare war on all rats n let’s declare a day so we can eridicate them all wat all u say’n…it’s time to kill the rats………

  6. ratus humanus
    May 18, 2011

    It was the same environmental health people who declared that there was no real danger and we should not panic but then many of you may not know because you all do not listen to news but dpend on hear say to be informed. It was the same Chief Environmental Health Officer who said that all the piles of jelly nuts that the vendors dump by the road sides poses no threat to the public, such nonsense coming from someone who you would expect to know better.
    Personally I do not think that the Environmental Health Department is strict enough in the supervision of shops, restaurants and bars. There are a number of these establishments that need to be closed immdiately but you us dominicans we prefer to have people at risk than to do our jobs RIGHT.

  7. Mariah Scott
    May 18, 2011

    I think more should be done to sensitize the public on this outbreak. I’m sure there are still people who don’t know how to prevent it. For swine flu there were posters everywhere. What is the ministry of health doing?

  8. m
    May 18, 2011

    A month or two ago the Environmental Health Department spoke about the outbreak of rats and leptospirosis, but no one paid much attention. now one prominent society dies and BAM all talk shows flooded with conerned citizens looking for smone to blame. but like everything in Dominica, except politics, is to-sho-to-flam.

    i am sure the EHD spoke about it becuase i went out to buy rat poison after they spoke about it. but the majority of us looked at it as if they were fighting THEIR own war and not OUR war. we like to wait until it is almost too late to do smthing about it

  9. Eyes Wide Open
    May 18, 2011

    One thing i must say is that in Dominica we are too reactive. We are not proactive at all. It has to take the death of a government official to bring all this ‘awareness’ to light. Let’s face it folks we need to wake up and be more proactive here on this island and stop waiting for tragedies to happen to put measures in place.

  10. Brain Damage
    May 18, 2011

    I hope they do not have a wild life bann on those bastard rats. It’s time to kill and eat!

  11. goody
    May 17, 2011

    rest in peace so sad

  12. Caribbean National
    May 17, 2011

    Wonder how many of the rats are being imported in containers from China, just my two cents, and how did the individuals contacted the disease

    we do not need this outbreak of disease in the Caribbean, this is a concern for all, not only in Dominica, so sad

  13. CVO
    May 17, 2011

    I feel a prompting to respond to the comments above more as advice rather than criticism. I appreciate the fact that many Dominicans are ignorant to the facts concerning Lepto, and the Authorities concerned should continue to work on that. But it is difficult to believe that a person or persons would think that lepto is an imported plague, almost implying that somebody infected us. Diseases moved with the development of civilization. One group should not blame the other for the introduction Please seek proper information before conclusions are drawn. Lepto kills irrespective of color, creed, political persuasion, or economic power. Dominicans reading this comment please, please, if you fit in the category of the persons mentioned or you think that you may have been exposed and you have the symptoms, please ask that your doctor treats you for lepto while you await a confirmatory test. We are losing valuable resources to a very old disease, that is easily prevented and treated, because of the way we approach the disease.

    thanks for the opportunity

  14. Da
    May 17, 2011

    Private sector in charge of rodent control and they can’t handle it investigate who dominicans

  15. Cleanliness
    May 17, 2011

    If we are tidy and clean and get rid of the rat, the disease will be largely controlled. We are simply reaping the consequences of our actions. We need to clean up our act.

  16. Just wondering
    May 17, 2011

    So what about the man from Atkinson who was in and out of ICU and died himself a few months ago, what kkilled him?

  17. shatta
    May 17, 2011

    That worst than the cockroach in grandbay asa u cannot even kill them with baygon

  18. sad
    May 17, 2011

    im sorry that these people have too loose their lives over these kind of things…this is so sad..pls people be careful just listen and obey the rules RIP too the ppl who dies :(

  19. FAR EAST
    May 17, 2011

    THESE ARE IMPORTED RAT EH! DOMINICAN RATS DON.T HAVE THIS DEADLY DISEASE, PEOPLE PLEASE OPEN YOUR EYES THIS IS A PLAGUE UPON OUR LAND , THEY ARE DOING THIS TO GET RID OF US, DOMINICANS DOMINICANS TAKE WARNING, THIS IS NOT A SIMPLE MATTER. THESE RATS CAME FORM FOREIGN, FAR AWAY.

    • Kalinago guru
      May 17, 2011

      Once upon a time there were no rats in Dominica in the time of the Kalinago control. Ratus ratus came here after Christopher Columbus. So all rats are foreign. There are no special “Waitukubuli rats”.

    • dki
      May 17, 2011

      My goodness. Stop spreading propaganda! leptospirosis has been in D/ca for years and years, it is nothing new. Not sure why everyone is so up in arms about it now…could it be that because someone prominient has died? This disease is serious and we should ALWAYS be protecting against it, looking out for it and trying to prevent it. What we should NOT do is put out false claims, elicit hysteria with conspiracy theories and spread wrong information. Please…gullible people read this…let’s act responsibly.

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