Bacteria linked to rats causes 1 death in NYC

Credit: Colin Frankland

A rare bacterial outbreak in New York City linked to rats has infected three people living on the same city block, ABC News reported. One of those persons has died, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Explore>> Read more trending news

The Bronx residents were diagnosed with leptospirosis within the last two months, after they had become severely ill, ABC News reported. One of the infected people, a man in his 30s, died.

"The Health Department has identified a cluster of three cases of leptospirosis on one block in the Concourse area of the Bronx," officials from the New York City Health Department said in a statement. "Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is most commonly spread by contact with rat urine and is very rarely spread from person to person. This illness can be serious, but is treatable with readily available antibiotics."

Two of the patients were diagnosed in December and one was diagnosed in February, department officials said.

Leptospirosis can cause infection if it enters the body through the eyes, nose, mouth or through open wounds or cuts in the skin. It can cause fever, headache, chills, vomiting or diarrhea. In rare cases, the disease causes severe complications in the kidney or liver that can result in organ failure and death.