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