Rare disease claims one life in Bronx area

Rare disease claims one life in Bronx area

An extremely rare and potentially lethal bacteria spread by rat urine has killed at least one person in the Bronx area and left two others struggling for their lives, the city's health officials have confirmed.

Braulio Balbuena Flores, 44, who lived with his 73-year-old mother Rosa Flores and other family members in an illegal basement unit in the affected building in city died following an unspecific illness.

Later doctors found that the victim was killed by an exceptionally rare illness caused by the bacterium Leptospira, which spreads through rat urine. Following the infection, the victim had a high fever and his whole body ached.

After she was told that the infection was caused by rat urine, Ms. Flores said, "I was left with my mouth open. We've had a rat problem here for a long time. ... My son could have died. He was in the hospital for two weeks."

The list of common symptoms of the deadly bacterial infection includes sudden onset of fever, conjunctival suffusion, muscle pain, headache, photophobia, nausea and vomiting.

Human leptospirosis, which is also known by monikers like mud fever, swamp fever and sewerman's flu, is very rare. In 2015, fewer than thirty cases were diagnosed across the whole nation.