Factors Contributing to the Occurrence of Leptospirosis, and the Impact on Public Health in Saint Lucia 2008-2019

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.08.04.Art008

Authors : Edward L. Emmanuel


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. The causative agent is a spirochete of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it causes a wide range of symptoms, however, asymptomatic presentation is not uncommon. Without proper treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, and respiratory distress. Death may occur in some patients. The aim of the study is to identify the factors contributing to the occurrence of leptospirosis, and the impact on public health in Saint Lucia 2008-2019. The study design is a mixed – method, comprising quantitative and qualitative data. A stratified sampling design using probability proportionate to size sampling at the settlement level was used. Secondary data on the incidence of leptospirosis were obtained from the Ministry of Health, and rainfall data were obtained from the Meteorology Office. Analysis of the data reveals several factors contributing to the occurrence of leptospirosis in Saint Lucia: poor garbage disposal; a large rodent population with easy access to garbage; and a lack of knowledge of leptospirosis. The impact on public health is manifested in the mortality and morbidity of individuals primarily men, and the health, social, and economic impact on the country. Reducing the impact of leptospirosis on the individual and country necessitates an island wide multi - sectoral control and prevention educational programme; an evaluation of the collection, storage, and disposal of household garbage; and the enforcement of legislation governing the proper collection, storage and disposal of garbage.


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