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Jan 7, 2014

Five people die from Leptospirosis, is the Ministry of Health launching an investigation?

Tonight there are unconfirmed reports that the Ministry of Health has launched an investigation into five deaths, allegedly caused by an infectious bacterial disease known as leptospirosis. Lepto occurs in dogs, rodents and other mammals, but can be transmitted to humans, mainly through the urine or feces of infected animals. News Five has been able to confirm one death by leptospirosis, which tragically occurred on New Year’s Day. Michael Lewis was a popular traffic officer in Belize City. He passed away from the disease at just after eight pm on January first, one week after he was admitted to the K.H.M.H. Today, his sister-in-law, Noellee Swift-McField, told News Five that the medical personnel confirmed the cause of death, and also confirmed that Lewis was the fifth case they had treated.


Noellee Swift-McField, Sister-in-law of Deceased

Noellee Swift-McField

“Based on what the doctors have told us he probably bought a food or something to drink and he did not eat it right away and rat probably urine or rat feces was in the food and he did not know and he ate that food and he did not know and that gave him leptospirosis. He ate the food two weeks prior to going to the hospital. It was the twenty-sixth that he was notified and went to the hospital three days prior to that.  I understand he had flu like symptoms, he was vomiting a lot, his eyes became yellow, his fingernails, his toenails, his eyes and I understand that it was jaundice. From my understanding they were not sure what it was first and the treatment that they gave to him was not the correct treatment. It was until Monday they ran the test and they found out what it was and that’s when they started to treat him but it was too late. In fact he had two cardiac arrests and I believe that is what shut him down. Doctor Gomez called the family aside and he explained to me and he was quite sure and four other people came in prior to Mike’s time and they died from the same thing.”


Signs and symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash. News Five tried repeatedly to get official confirmation and comment from the Ministry of Health today, but all those authorized to handle our queries were in meetings.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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