On top of everything Puerto Rico has had to deal with since Hurricanes Maria and Irma, now the island is facing a health epidemic. The bacterial disease leptospirosis has spiked and apparently has caused a number of deaths.
Last month Puerto Rico released new figures of people that died as a result of Hurricane Maria. CNN and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism sued Puerto Rico and forced them to release updated death tolls, given that there was evidence pointing that there were more deaths that the 64 they had originally confirmed. The numbers released showed that there were at least “1,427 more deaths in the last four months of 2017 than the average over the four years before.” Now it looks like some of those deaths were caused by leptospirosis.
The bacterial illness is believed to have spiked since the hurricane because it’s spread through water and soil. This is especially the case after a huge storm or hurricane.
“Twenty-six deaths attributed to leptospirosis—that’s extraordinary,” Dr. Joseph Vinetz, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Diego and an expert on disease said after reviewing the numbers. “There’s no way of putting it … The numbers are huge.”
The data shows that 26 alone have dyed from leptospirosis six months following Hurricane Maria—that’s a lot!
These outbreaks are crazy and hopefully now that this data is out, experts can get on top of helping folks who might have contracted this disease from reaching a fatal state. This is absolutely devastating and our hearts remain with Puerto Rico.