Rat-borne disease cases on the up and causing concern

Increasing rodent populations and flooding from overflowing sewers have abetted the spread of a nasty disease

Over the last two years, the number of recorded cases of Weil’s disease in Denmark has more than doubled.

From a fairly constant 10 cases per year, recent research from the Statens Seruminstitut serum laboratory has revealed a total of 42 cases in 2017 and 2018, reports TV2 Nyheder.

No joke
Weil’s disease is an infection caused by the Leptospira bacteria. You can become infected if you come into contact with the urine, blood or tissue of infected animals or rodents – most commonly rats, mice, cows, pigs and dogs.

READ ALSO: Rats! Denmark sees explosion in unwanted rodents

The symptoms vary from those of a mild form of influenza to more serious infections such as blood poisoning and high fever that can cause liver failure or meningitis and, ultimately, death.

Fatalities are, however, rare as most cases go away on their own and the disease can be treated with antibiotics.

A symptom of global warming
Global warming and climate change may be playing its part as rat populations have been on the increase due to fewer harsh winters, and flooded sewers are more common because of more frequent heavy showers.

READ ALSO: Rats in Copenhagen thriving thanks to warm weather

The laboratory’s figures reveal that most of the recorded cases come from Copenhagen Municipality and Zealand.

Many of them had come into contact with polluted water or water from overflowing sewers, while several had been in direct contact with mice or rats.