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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Health secretary reports worrisome jump in leptospirosis cases

By The Star Staff

Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López raised a warning flag earlier this week over 72 suspected cases of leptospirosis after the passage of Hurricane Fiona.

“We have gone through a natural disaster and seek the public’s help to take the appropriate protective measures for recovery efforts,” Mellado López said in a written statement Wednesday night. “We make an urgent call to wear gloves, safety goggles and closed shoes, and to consume bottled water.”

“If you have a cut, use a waterproof band-aid or bandage and do not walk, swim, bathe, submerge your head or swallow flood water or any body of water that may be contaminated,” he added. “Finally, keep food, water, and garbage in closed containers to avoid contact with rodents.”

The Health chief urged the public not to have contact with water, soil, or food that could have been contaminated by coming into contact with urine (or other secretions) from infected animals.

Mellado López noted that a person with fever, headache, muscle aches, red eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes), rash and cough, and who has been walking barefoot through flood water or has been picking up debris without proper protection, can become infected.

“You need to seek immediate medical assistance and tell your doctor what symptoms you are experiencing and if you have been in contact with water or materials that could be infected for proper evaluation and timely treatment,” he said.

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