New Caledonia reports dozens of leptospirosis cases in first two months of 2023


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Health officials in New Caledonia have reported a rise in leptospirosis cases since the beginning of the year.

As of February 28, 2023, 65 cases of leptospirosis have been confirmed. This includes 25 cases in January and 40 cases in February. There have been a total of 56 hospitalizations (86%) and one death recorded since the beginning of the year.

The cases were distributed among 20 municipalities in the southern and northern governorates.

New Caledonia reported 265 confirmed cases of leptospirosis in 2022. Among them, 227 people (85.6%) were hospitalized and 4 deaths (1.1%) were recorded.

In 2021, there were 229 reported cases of leptospirosis. Among them, 178 people (77.7%) were hospitalized and 4 deaths (1.7%) were recorded.

Giant microbes

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. People (and animals) can become infected when they are exposed to the urine of infected animals. They can also become infected from water, soil, or food contaminated with infected animal urine. Leptospirosis bacteria can enter the body through the skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).

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To reduce your individual risk, it is important to understand that exposure to animals, soil, mud, and flood waters during work or recreational activities increases your risk of infection.

Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), red eyes, and a rash. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, shortness of breath, and even death.

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