Via his excellent blog China Medical News, Michael Woodhead writes: Heavy rainfall and floods to blame for resurgence in leptospirosis in China. Excerpt:
An outbreak of leptospirosis in Sichuan in which six people died shows that the disease spread by water contaminated with rat urine is far from eliminated in China.
The 26 cases of leptospirosis reported in Lezhi country east of Chegdu in 2010 were analysed by researchers from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Institutes of Medical Sciences, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine.
They found that the cases were caused by the parasite that is typically spread from rats to humans via the urine and other hosts such as domestic dog and cattle. The researchers noted that local farmers in Lezhi collect rainwater in the farm land for rice plant. And in the harvest season, men and women, old and young all work barefooted in the farm land.
The infection is caused by a spirochaete bacterium and signs of the disease may vary from mild fever and jaundice to very severe and often fatal kidney, liver, and heart failure.