Leptospirosis found in New York City, USA

In the past two months, three people have been reported to be infected with Leptospirosis in a one block radius in the Concourse area in the Bronx. This is a rare disease that is linked to exposure to rats and human to human contact is rare.


Leptospirosis is acquired through skin exposure (especially if there are open wounds) to water or damp soil that has been contaminated by an infected animal’s urine. For travellers, this exposure usually occurs through recreational water activities, like white-water rafting, swimming, kayaking or during floods. The risk of acquiring leptospirosis is higher after a period of heavy rainfall or flooding.

Travellers can reduce the risk of exposure to leptospirosis during floods or heavy rainfall by avoiding contact with flood waters, e.g., wearing waterproof boots and other protective clothing.