In an update in the leptospirosis outbreak in Fiji, health officials now report 1,394 lab-confirmed cases of leptospirosis this year.
In addition, the number of deaths has risen to 29, according to Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong. More than 70 percent of the deaths have been reported from the Western Division.
Dr. Fong notes a notable decrease in cases has been noted in the last week, with the weekly case number now below the national outbreak alert threshold.
In Fiji, leptospirosis has been seen in all age groups, he said, adding that cases remain predominantly in the 10-39 age group, with more in males than females, and in people of iTaukei ethnicity.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. People (and animals) can get infected when they are exposed to the urine of infected animals. They can also get infected from water, soil, or food contaminated with infected animal urine. Leptospirosis bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
To reduce your individual risk, it is important to understand that exposure to animals, soil, mud, and floodwaters during work or recreational activities increases your risk of infection.
Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, and skin rash. 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.
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