Rare Bacteria Found in Rat Urine Sickens Three Bronx Residents, One Fatally
City health officials are monitoring an outbreak of a rare bacterial infection in the Bronx.
The city says three people were infected in the Concourse neighborhood.
One person died, but the other two recovered.
Two of the patients were diagnosed in December, the third in February.
The city says there are typically one to three cases of leptospirosis in New York City per year, and that this is the first cluster of cases ever identified in the city.
Leptospirosis spreads from contact with rat urine.
The Health Department is holding a tenants meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at 750 Grand Concourse, where one of the patients lived, to address the outbreak.
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development says there are 79 open violations at the building, and the Department of Buildings says there are 25 open construction code violations on record for the building.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. says 1,500 complaints have been filed against the landlord of the building, where one of the victims lived.
"I think that what we need to do is hold them accountable, in the courts, I think that we should find a way to protect the residents, where they can put even rent in escrow, and hit them in the pockets. Fine them even more," Diaz Jr. said.
"Every time I walk around, at night, they come out the most. So yeah, they're big," said one tenant.
"I'm really kinda upset, because with the urine this doesn't happen overnight. It's been a while. Somebody's at fault," said another tenant.
The Health Department urges people to avoid rats and wash thoroughly if you do come in contact with them.