NewsDesk @bactiman63

New Caledonia health officials report a rise in leptospirosis cases since the beginning of the year.

As of 28 February 2023, 65 leptospirosis cases have been confirmed. This includes 25 cases in January and 40 cases in February. There was in total 56 hospitalizations (86%) and 1 death recorded since the beginning of the year.

The cases have been spread over 20 municipalities in both the southern and northern provinces.

New Caledonia reported 265 confirmed cases of leptospirosis in 2022. Among them, 227 people (85.6%) were hospitalized and 4 deaths were recorded (1.1%).

In 2021, 229 cases of leptospirosis were declared. Among them, 178 people (77.7%) were hospitalized and 4 deaths were recorded (1.7%).

Giant microbes

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).

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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.