Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 18 Sep 2019 12am







    Tuesday, September 17, 2019-1:58:59P.M.






Font Size


Health advisory: Leptospirosis

(CHCC) — Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira, which can be found in dirty water.

Because of all the rain and runoff that has been occurring in the CNMI lately, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation-Bureau of Environmental Health would like to provide an update on the risk factors, symptoms, and prevention of Leptospirosis.

People with the highest risk of exposure to Leptospirosis bacteria are those who come into contact with water regularly or as part of their job. This includes farmers, swimmers, sanitation workers, veterinarians, and fishery workers. Additional risks of exposure include:

  • • Drinking water from contaminated source, such as an unclean household or commercial water tank.
  • • Doing household chores that require you to be near water that might be contaminated, such as cleaning flooded homes or tents.

In humans, Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all. Common symptoms of Leptospirosis include:

  • • Fever
  • • Headache
  • • Muscle aches
  • • Red eyes
  • • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • • Abdominal pain
  • • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • • Skin rash
  • • Cough

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please see your doctor.

You can help prevent Leptospirosis by doing the following:

  • • Treat water to make it safe to drink by boiling or using an appropriate chemical treatment, especially if it has been collected from a source that could be exposed to urine from animals or contaminated by flood water runoff.
  • • Cover cuts or abrasions with waterproof bandages or other coverings that seal out water.
  • • Do not wade, swim, bathe, submerse your head in, or swallow floodwater or any fresh water source that may contain animal urine or be contaminated by flood water runoff.
  • • Wear waterproof protective clothing and shoes near floodwater or other water or soil that may be contaminated with animal urine.
  • • Prevent rodent infestation by keeping food, water, and trash in closed containers, and trapping any rodents you see. Avoid eating food that rodents may have had access to.

For more information, contact the BEH office at 664-4870/72 or email John Tagabuel at

For more information about its programs, follow CHCC on Facebook and Twitter at @cnmichcc, check out its website at or call 234-8950.