MANAGUA – Health authorities in Nicaragua reported Saturday another death from leptospirosis, increasing to 18 the number of fatalities from the disease, with 551 people infected so far this year.
“The total number of deaths to date is 18 and the mortality rate is 3.2 percent,” the Health Ministry said in a communique, which also said that the latest victim was a man from the municipality of Tipitapa in Managua province.
The epidemic began to infect inhabitants of the northwestern province of Leon on Sept. 24, but it has now spread to Nicaragua’s 15 provinces and one of its two Caribbean regions.
Authorities declared a health emergency last Oct. 16 due to the advance of the illness.
“Up to the time of finalizing this report, 129,391 first doses have been administered, for a total of 5.1 million people medicated since the outbreak began,” the ministry said.
According to the Health Ministry, 95.2 percent of the population has received the first dose of medication, 58 percent have been given the second dose and 31.4 percent have taken the third dose.
Health authorities are continuing a day of rat extermination to halt the spread of the leptospirosis epidemic.
The outbreak of the disease was brought on by the torrential rains that have lashed Nicaragua since last May, according to the authorities.
Leptospirosis, common in tropical countries, infects people when cuts and sores on the skin come in contact with dirt, water, garbage or vegetation contaminated with the urine of infected animals, and has an average incubation period of 10 days.
The characteristic symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and pain in various parts of the body.