First case of rat disease reported

PHUKET: The first known case of leptospirosis contracted in Phuket has been reported by Thalang Hospital, the Provincial Health Office has announced. The victim is a 32-year-old Phuket man living in Moo 4, Baan Don, Thalang. He checked into Thalang Hospital on June 21 after suffering from a serious headache for about six days. The whites of his eyes were yellow and bloodshot, and he urinated often. Dr Boonrieng Chuchaisaengrat, chief of the Phuket Provincial Health Office, said that blood tests had confirmed that the man was suffering from leptospirosis, and that he had been transferred to Wachira Phuket Hospital where he is listed in serious condition. The victim told doctors that he had been catching fish in rice fields about two weeks before being hospitalized. Leptospirosis, or Weil’s disease, is caused by the leptospira bacterium, which is normally carried in the kidneys of rats. The most common method of transmission to humans is through contact with rat urine, usually via a wound in the skin. If untreated, the disease can be fatal. The condition is rare in Phuket. In the past, all the cases found on the island have involved people who had contracted the disease elsewhere, before coming to Phuket. Yesterday, the Chief of Thalang District, the Mayor of Thepkrasattri Municipality and local village leaders met with the director of Thalang Hospital and staff of the PHO for a briefing on ways to avoid the disease and to ensure local people know about the risks. “I don’t think this disease will effect tourists,” Dr Boonrieng noted, “because tourists don’t like to walk in dirty areas.”

Phuket News
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