Rat-Linked Disease Leaves 1 Dead, 2 Sick in NYC

Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow

One person recently died and two others were sickened by a rare disease spread by rats in the Bronx, New York City health officials say.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection most commonly spread by contact with rat urine. The bacteria enters the body through open wounds or cuts or through the eyes, nose or mouth, CBS News reported.

All three patients lived within a one block radius in the Concourse area. On Tuesday night, city health department staff were in the lobby of 750 Grand Concourse handing out notices to tenants warning them about the recent cases.

Health officials said they are trying to reduce the rat problem in the building and advised residents to take a number of precautions, CBS News reported.

These include: avoiding contact with rats or with places where they may have urinated; washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after any contact with areas where rats may live; cleaning areas where rats have been with a solution of one part household bleach and 10 parts water; and wearing rubber gloves, boots, masks and some type of eyewear.

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