Jamaica Gleaner / Chief Public health inspector for Westmoreland, Steve Morris, said while leptospirosis is not at a crisis level, every effort should be made to ensure the disease is easily detected and speedily treated.

Morris said health officials continue to remind the public of the dangers of swimming or wading in water which has resulted from flooding, or eating foods that might have been contaminated with animal urine.

“We are also advising parents to look out for their children, who we all know are prone to going into whatever water they see around them, all in the name of fun. Food, too, must be covered and protected from contamination, which, again, is dangerous for unsuspecting youngsters as well as adults. If you see any food item that looks suspect, throw it away, as it could easily be contaminated,” he warned.

Morris said they have been seeing an increase in the notifications for leptospirosis across the parish. “It is always on our radar, so we are looking at how best we can reach persons to reduce these notifications. Currently, we are looking at education as one of the better means of reaching persons, in addition to implementing a rodent-control programme in the township of Savanna-la-Mar,” he noted.

 

Collaborative effort  

He emphasised that the rodent-control programme has to be a collaborative effort between commercial entities, stakeholders, the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation and other agencies, adding that “the Health Department cannot, by itself, financially sustain such a programme”.

Morris said leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that could lead to possible fatal infection of the kidney, liver, brain, lung or heart.

He said while it cannot be spread from human to human, it can be contracted through exposure to the urine or body fluids of infected animals.

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