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Public urged be wary of lepto

Barbados has recorded another death as a result of leptospirosis with co-infection from dengue.

Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Karen Springer, said that an adult who had contracted leptospirosis died this week.

The Senior Medical Officer urged the public to be extremely careful at this time since there has been a rise in dengue cases, with 220 being recorded up to September 29 of this year. This compares with 138 cases up to the same period last year.

“In 2012, 27 persons were hospitalised, compared to 46 cases in 2011, and according to Environmental Health Officers, mosquito complaints were highest for the month of August. Their inspections confirmed that breeding levels had progressively increased from June to August of this year,” she said.

Dr. Springer has, therefore, reminded members of the public to check their premises for possible mosquito breeding places, cover water containers such as buckets and drums or to dispose of them in a proper manner.

“If you are experiencing symptoms of dengue, including sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain; as well as symptoms of severe dengue such as bleeding from the nose, mouth and gums, frequent vomiting, severe abdominal pain or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention at once,” the health official cautioned.

Dr. Springer also spoke about the symptoms of leptospirosis.

“These include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, eye inflammation and muscle ache, nausea and vomiting. It can be contracted through contact with water, damp soil or vegetation contaminated with the urine of infected animals,” she said.

The health practitioner explained that while rodents were the main carriers of leptospirosis in Barbados, the disease could also be transmitted by pigs, horses, cattle and dogs. Protective clothing should, therefore, be worn at all times when participating in outdoor work or recreational activities, such as gardening and construction, since these might cause unintentional exposure to contaminated water.

Twenty-nine cases of leptospirosis have been recorded so far this year, while last year, there were 44 cases, resulting in three deaths. (BGIS)

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