By NewsDesk   @bactiman63

In a follow-up on the leptospirosis outbreak in Fiji in 2019, the Ministry of Health says eight deaths have been attributed to it in the Central Division since the beginning of the year.

Fiji map/CIA

According to a Fiji Broadcasting Commission report, the first five deaths occurred between January and April while the other three occurred shortly following the bad weather experienced over Easter in April.

Fijians are urged to not swim in flooded waters after heavy rainfall, wear closed shoes when working on farms and flooded waters and following good sanitation and hygiene practices.

Leptospirosis is a disease spread by animal urine. People get infected when they come in contact with urine of infected animals or with urine-contaminated water, soil, or food.

Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, stomach pain, diarrhea, and rarely, a rash. This disease can be deadly and in the more severe cases can cause kidney or liver failure, meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain), or bleeding in the lungs.

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Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the risk of acquiring leptospirosis can be greatly reduced by not swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine, or eliminating contact with potentially infected animals.

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Protective clothing or footwear should be worn by those exposed to contaminated water or soil because of their job or recreational activities.

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