Cinnaminson, New Jersey, January 19th
Last fall, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health) issued an advisory about an increase in leptospirosis cases in the city. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals and can cause a wide range of symptoms, or none at all. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.
According to the NYC Health advisory:
Fourteen people diagnosed with leptospirosis have been reported to date in 2021, more than the total number reported to the New York City Health Department in any prior year. Cases have been identified in all boroughs except Staten Island, with no obvious clustering. Thirteen of the fourteen people were hospitalized with acute renal and hepatic failure, two of whom also had severe pulmonary involvement. One person died as a result of infection. All other hospitalized patients were treated and discharged.
Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. The bacteria are spread through the urine of infected animals, including rats. It can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Humans can become infected through:
- Contact with urine (or other body fluids, except saliva) from infected animals.
- Contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.
CDC also reports the disease can also be an occupational hazard for many people who work outdoors or with animals, such as:
- Mine workers
- Sewer workers
- Slaughterhouse workers
- Veterinarians and animal caretakers
- Fish workers
- Dairy farmers
- Military personnel
“Leptospirosis occurs worldwide, but is most common in temperate or tropical climates,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “The disease has also been associated with swimming, wading, kayaking, and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. At EMSL, our laboratories provide rapid environmental testing services for Leptospira utilizing highly sensitive qPCR techniques that provide for extremely accurate results. These tests can be used to quickly identify sources if an infection has already occurred.”
EMSL has also sponsored an educational video about leptospirosis and various occupational and environmental exposure risks to Leptospira that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/m23WDvym2bY
To learn more about testing for Leptospira or other environmental, health and safety services, please contact EMSL Analytical at www.EMSL.com, call (800)220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.