1 person dies, 2 ill from rat-related disease in NYC

Associated Press

New York — The New York City health department says one person has died and two others have become severely ill after they contracted a rare disease transmitted by rats.

The three cases occurred in the last two months in a Bronx neighborhood. City officials say it’s the first time a cluster of cases has been identified.

The disease is called leptospirosis.

Infections commonly occur through exposure to rat urine. The disease is rarely spread from person to person. It can be treated with antibiotics.

The city says it’s reducing the rat population in the area and educating residents about the disease.

The New York Times says that from 2006 to 2016, 26 cases were reported in the city; the Bronx had the highest number with eight.