A horrific plague which has been spread by filthy rats across New York City has hospitalised thirteen people and left one other person dead.
The rare disease has caused havoc across the city and has hit at least 15 people in total who have been contracted with the disease so far this year.
The bacterial disease, which is called leptospirosis, can be transmitted from animals to humans when broken skin comes into direct contact with urine or from contaminated water or soil.
It can be passed on by a number of animals such as pigs, cattle and dogs but in this nightmare epidemic rats have been identified as the most common cause, reports IFL Science.
It has been estimated that there are 1 million cases of leptospirosis across the globe every year and around 59,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the past 15 years between 2006 and 2020, only 57 cases were reported in New York.
But currently, the sudden spike has seen infections in all boroughs across the city, except in Staten Island.
Majority of leptospirosis cases involve flu-like symptoms including muscle aches, a fever, chills or a headache but some people may experience no symptoms.
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It has been reported that only around 10% of people with the disease become extremely ill – with reported illnesses such as kidney failure, meningitis, difficulty breathing, liver damage and bleeding.
The NYC Department of Health issued a public advisory in September after the 14th case – the number has since increased to 15.
It read: "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.
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"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."
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