LAST month's flooding in south Trinidad is being blamed for the death of a Penal resident.
Police officer Premnath Badal, 50, of Gopie Trace, died on Saturday after contracting leptospirosis, an infectious bacterial disease caused by rats.
Badal, who was on leave from active police duty, became violently ill on Friday, said his brother Ramesh Badal.
Before that, he complained of weakness.
“He wasn't bitten or anything like that. It was definitely the flood that caused this. When it rained, his home was flooded...the rats must have moved for higher ground and would have spread this disease. Somehow, he came into contact with it. He wasn't really a sickly person and I was told he was feeling weak before they had to take him to the hospital,” said Ramesh Badal.
He said his brother was a “jovial” and “friendly” person, well-known by many in the community.
Badal made an appeal to flood victims to be careful and cautious.
“Wash over everything or throw away things, don't hold onto it. You never know what could be in these household items. You have to protect yourself and your family. I call on the authorities to take some kind of action to eradicate this. No-one should have to lose their family like this,” he said.
Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) chairman Dr Allan Sammy extended his condolences to the family and said the corporation is continuing with its clean-up and spraying initiatives after the man was reported to have died after contracting leptospirosis.
He said this was the first incident reported where someone died after the floods.
Sammy said the recent flooding may have been a contributing factor to rats “looking for higher ground, as we know rats are the main culprits”.
He said he would not say this incident is an outbreak as it is the first case reported, but he is warning the public, especially those affected by the flooding, to be cautious.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease which affects both humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria known as leptospira. Many wild and domestic animals can be carriers of the bacteria which can include animals such as rats, horses, cattle, pigs, dogs and wild animals.