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Rat Urine Linked to Surge in Influenza-like Illnesses Across a US City

Rat Urine Linked to Surge in Influenza-like Illnesses Across a US City | Credits: Canva

United States: An escalation in influenza-like afflictions throughout New York City has been attributed to the presence of rat urine, as stated by Mayor Eric Adams.

Leptospirosis, a potentially fatal bacterial malady, can be contracted through exposure to urine from contaminated animals or interaction with water, earth, or sustenance tainted by the urine of afflicted creatures, according to the Independent.

Species susceptible to the infection encompass canines, bovines, swine, and equines. Should individuals become infected, they may manifest symptoms such as pyrexia, cephalalgia, rigor, myalgia, emesis, diarrhea, cough, ocular suffusion, icterus, and cutaneous eruption.

Untreated, the affliction can lead to nephropathy, meningitis, hepatic insufficiency, respiratory distress, and even demise, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Historically, New York City has witnessed a consistent incidence of the ailment due to its enduring rat populace.

However, the number of diagnoses has recently surged, with 24 documented cases in 2023 alone, marking the highest tally in a solitary annum, per the municipal Department of Health. Thus far, six instances of the ailment have been recorded in 2024.

By way of juxtaposition, the metropolis observed a mean of three occurrences annually from 2001 to 2020. Authorities posit that one contributing factor to the uptick is the habit of denizens leaving polymeric refuse receptacles outdoors, as outlined by the Independent.

“It’s a substantive quandary,” remarked Mr Adams during an inquiry on the matter at a Thursday press briefing in Albany. “We are beset by an excessive quantity of polymer bags on our thoroughfares.”

Visual Representation

Mr Adams appointed Kathleen Corradi as the inaugural “Rat Czar” of the municipality, a move he claimed positioned his administration at the vanguard of the struggle against vermin. He asserted that ongoing endeavors, such as the deployment of refuse receptacles in lieu of sacks, are “expelling rodents from our urban environs.”

He appended, “People must discern the correlations. Polymer bags beget rodents. Rid our streets of these bags, and a substantial reduction in the rat abatement quandary shall ensue.”

Addressing the same press briefing, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi disclosed that denizens of New York discard 44 million pounds of refuse daily. She advocated for individuals engaged in refuse management, such as superintendents, to don protective gloves to shield against contraction of the disease, according to the Independent.

Mr Adams’s office has further allocated USD 3.5 million to inaugurate the Harlem Rat Mitigation Zone, an initiative aimed at diminishing the incidence of rat sightings in the borough. Officials have highlighted a 20 percent reduction in non-urgent rat reports since the inception of these measures.

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