Leptospirosis in French Guiana – Outbreak News Today

With the heavy rains of recent months, leptospirosis has returned to French Guiana. According to the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of March 25, 2022, the disease has already caused one death and several
the patients are currently in intensive care units.

French Guiana/CIA

On average, about 40 cases are diagnosed each year in the territory. About ten cases were diagnosed in February 2022 and as many in March, i.e. three to four times more than usual.

The last cluster dates back to May 2020. Most patients live in Cayenne; cases have also been identified in Rémire-Montjoly.

“We have registered more cases. Between suspected cases and confirmed cases, between 10 and 15 cases have been reported monthly since the end of January at the Cayenne hospital. When there is more water, like in recent weeks, the incidence increases. The thresholds remain correct despite this rally; however, we must call for vigilance, wear shoes and protect homes in the event of flooding and nearby landfills,” said Professor Pierre Demar Magalie, from the Center Hospitalier de Cayenne, Unit
infectious and tropical diseases.

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Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. People (and animals) can become infected when exposed to the urine of infected animals. They can also become infected through water, soil, or food contaminated with urine from infected animals. Leptospirosis bacteria can enter the body through the skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth).

To reduce your individual risk, it is important to understand that exposure to animals, soil, mud, and flood waters during work or recreational activities increases your risk of infection.

Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, and rash. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.

Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics.