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Bacterial Infection Might Have Killed More People Than Previously Reported After Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico 

Infected urine from rats and other animals like dogs and cows can spread the disease. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

A bacterial infection common after storms can be contracted from contaminated floodwater. Although the Florida Department of Health says there’s no new cases of leptospirosis  in Orange County this year, the University of Florida’s Dr. Anthony Cannella says people can still contract the disease from recreational activities in freshwater.

“This is Florida. Going into a lake or river isn’t anything unusual. So it has to be the physician who has to know to ask these questions with the symptoms. But for those most part it’s unspecific and any other kind of viral infection can produce this as well.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most people who are diagnosed early with symptoms like red, irritated eyes and a high fever can be treated with a course of antibiotics. The disease can be fatal if left untreated.

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Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.