Cluster of rat-related disease discovered in Bronx section of New York, 1 dead

At least three people have been infected, with one death reported.

— -- A rare bacterial outbreak in New York City linked to rats has infected three people, one of whom died, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Three people in one city block in the Bronx were diagnosed with leptospirosis within the last two months, after they had become severely ill, the department reported yesterday. One of the infected people, a man in his 30s, died.

New York City had 26 cases of leptospirosis between 2006 and 2016, averaging between one to three cases per year, the department added. All but one were men.

Health department officials said they were working with the New York City Housing Preservation and Development and the Buildings Departments to lower the rat population in the area and educate residents about the disease.

City officials advise concerned residents to avoid contact with rats or places where rats may have urinated, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, use a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water to clean possibly affected areas and wear shoes and protective gear in rat-prone locations.