By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The New Caledonia Department of Health and Social Affairs reports an increase in leptospirosis cases in the first two months of 2021.


From January 1 to February 21, a total of 80 cases were reported. New Caledonia saw a total of 69 cases and four deaths in all of 2020.

Communes reporting the most cases to date include Ponérihouen with 11, and six each in Païta and Poindimié.

Leptospirosis is caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Leptospira, is often referred to as “rat fever” due to the principal role rats play in spreading the disease (scientists refer this type of animal as a reservoir host).  Other animals can also be important reservoirs of the disease.

These animals can spread the disease in their urine, contaminating water, soil, or food.  People who live in close contact with domestic animals or wildlife are at higher risk for getting the disease.

People become infected by coming into contact with contaminated urine, water, food, or soil through breaks in the skin, eyes, mouth, or nose. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters. Person to person transmission is rare.

Infected individuals initially experience fever, severe headache and muscle aches, abdominal pain, and occasionally a skin rash. Patients in the later stages of disease can suffer from jaundice, kidney failure, bleeding from the mouth or nose, bloody urine and can be fatal, especially without proper treatment.