NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 8:05 PM
Rosa Flores knew two things: Her Bronx basement apartment was rotten with rats, and her son was getting sicker by the day.
She was stunned to discover the two were related and Braulio Balbuena Flores, 44, nearly became the second Bronxite killed by an exceptionally rare and potentially lethal bacteria spread by rat urine.
I was left with my mouth open, the 73-year-old Flores said Wednesday. Weve had a rat problem here for a long time. … My son could have died. He was in the hospital for two weeks.
Two other people had been sickened with leptospirosis in December on the same block of the Grand Concourse near Yankee Stadium, the Health Department confirmed. It was the first death tied to the bacteria since 2012, and the city said there were only 26 reported cases of leptospirosis since 2006.
SEE IT: Mouse walking on crib in Kushner-owned Brooklyn home
The two other cases involved a pair of employees who worked at a small business on the Bronx block, said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett.
One of those two died, while the other like Flores became seriously ill, but recovered.
In Flores case, city health officials descended on his vermin-infested building at 750 Grand Concourse this week as word of the outbreak became public.
We typically identify two to three cases of leptospirosis every year, Bassett said. What is unusual here is that we had a cluster.
Infection caused by rat urine kills one, sickens two in the Bronx
Asked about why the public had not been notified sooner, a Health Department spokesman said as soon as we learned about the cluster, we immediately put out a Health Alert to providers, visited residents (Tuesday night) and spoke to elected officials.
On Tuesday, city housing inspectors gained access to four of the buildings 14 apartments and found evidence of mice in each one. City officials noted that mice dont transmit leptospirosis.
Our role right now is to reduce the risk of exposure, which is mainly rodent control, and Im very pleased with the progress that were making in that regard, she said.
Records indicated the building owned by one of the citys most notorious landlords faced 80 unresolved housing code violations.
Pizza rat now has a squirrel buddy to dine with
This is a quality of life issue, its a health issue, and … its a life and death issue, said Bronx Borough President Rubn Daz Jr. It begs the question What are we doing about it?
The building is owned by Ved Parkash, cited two years ago by the citys public advocate as New Yorks worst landlord. A Daily News story from last April recounted one resident hearing rats scratching at the tiled walls of his shower.
Parkash defended himself before scurrying out of a raucous tenant meeting in the buildings lobby Wednesday evening.
We have exterminators here every month for the last 29 years, he said. I knew we had rats. Ive been working out the problem. Its a neighborhood-wide problem. I can only work on my building.
As a result of the rat infestation, the city also vacated eight illegal basement units in the building on Wednesday, city officials said.
Building residents like Brittany Jones, 25, said the situation was every bit as bad as it sounds. She has watched as the rats ran loose through the basement.
Its disgusting, she said. To think that people are getting sick and dying from this, its shocking.
Her neighbor, Roberto Lebron, 40, echoed Jones gripes about the rat problem.
I cant even open the windows, said Lebron. (The rats) will come right up and chew through the screens.
Lebron, who lives with his pregnant wife and their daughter, said he caught a rat two months ago that had crawled through a hole in his bathroom floor.
My wife is like, I want to get out of here. I dont want to get sick, he said.
Victims typically become infected either through direct contact with rat urine or from urine-contaminated water, soil or food.
The bacteria typically enters the body either through cuts or mucous membranes in the the eyes, nose or mouth.
This illness can be serious but is treatable with readily available antibiotics, city Health Department officials said in a statement released Tuesday. Symptoms can range from a mild illness with fever, headaches, chills, muscle aches, vomiting or diarrhea, to a life-threatening sickness that affects the kidneys and liver.
With Edgar Sandoval
- Rodent Exterminator | Rodent Removal | Rodent Exterminators - May 29th, 2019
- Rodent Exterminators | Rodent Control & Removal | Allgood ... - May 24th, 2019
- Rodents | Boca Raton Termite Extermination, Pest Control ... - May 24th, 2019
- Pest Control Sacramento | Top Exterminators | Golden Hills ... - May 12th, 2019
- Mouse Exterminator Cost - Fixr.com - March 29th, 2019
- Rodent Control in Milwaukee County, WI | Rodent Exterminator - March 16th, 2019
- Beeline Pest Control - March 12th, 2019
- Exterminators Get Rid of Rodents Attic Crawlspace Rats ... - March 7th, 2019
- Pest Control Albuquerque | Exterminator Albuquerque NM - February 9th, 2019
- Seattle Commercial Rodent Control Exterminators for Rats ... - September 29th, 2018
- What Odors Do Rodents Like? | Pest Control and Bug ... - September 29th, 2018
- Anaheim Mice Control - Anaheim Pest Control Pros - September 29th, 2018
- Peoria Mice Control - Peoria Pest Control Pros - September 29th, 2018
- Norman Mice Control - Norman Pest Control Pros - September 29th, 2018
- Rodents - Southold Pest Control and Exterminator - July 28th, 2018
- Rodents - Manhasset Pest Control and Exterminator - June 7th, 2018
- Rodents In Memphis Tn | Rodents Exterminator - May 28th, 2018
- New Jersey Mice & Rodent Control | Exterminator For ... - April 23rd, 2018
- Mice, Rodent, and Rat Exterminator in Buffalo, NY - March 26th, 2018
- DIY Rodent Control & Traps | Rodent Extermination Products ... - March 9th, 2018
- Rodent Control Exterminator - Hitmen Termite & Pest Control - January 25th, 2018
- Exterminator does the dirty work for rodent-besieged ... - January 7th, 2018
- DIY Rodent Control, Traps, and Rodent Extermination ... - November 18th, 2017
- #1 Pest Control in Chicago, Illinois! Top Exterminator for ... - October 28th, 2017
- Local rat population surging - The Daily Post - September 5th, 2017
- Pest Control Exterminator in Buffalo, NY - ProStar Pest ... - August 29th, 2017
- Couple's horror as plague of rats infests their car and EATS the engine while their other motor is littered with ... - The Sun - August 26th, 2017
- Flea Control, Treatment, and Prevention - Victoria Advocate - August 7th, 2017
- The number of rat infestations in Leicester is going up - Leicester Mercury - August 4th, 2017
- Employees say Jacksonville International Airport has major rat infestation - ActionNewsJax.com - August 4th, 2017
- Creepy creature a mix between spider, scorpion; native to Arizona - ABC2 News - August 2nd, 2017
- Calling the Pied Piper: Rats invade Petaluma - Petaluma Argus Courier - July 31st, 2017
- Feral cats in demand | Calaveras County's Most Trusted News ... - Calaveras Enterprise - July 31st, 2017
- New York unveils $32-million fight vs rats - Inquirer.net - July 13th, 2017
- Mice seen as invading City Hall - Philly.com - Philly.com - July 13th, 2017
- Hartford residents speak out on unsafe, unhealthy living conditions ... - FOX 61 - July 12th, 2017
- North End Residents Organize Against Alleged Neglect By Landlord - Hartford Courant - July 11th, 2017
- Get Rid of Rodents | pest-control.com | pest-control.com - July 10th, 2017
- Dirty Dining: Alessi Bakery's rodent infestation evident by rodent ... - ABC Action News - July 8th, 2017
- From toilet bowls to car engines, rat sightings are up at Danforth and Woodbine - CBC.ca - July 3rd, 2017
- 'They were nesting in my underpants' - John Woodhouse on the city's rodent issues - Stoke Sentinel - July 2nd, 2017
- Dirty Dining: Bombay Grill Indian Cuisine shut down for 700+ rodent droppings in kitchen - ABC Action News - June 24th, 2017
- How a Joke About Flying Squirrels Led to an Ailing Woman's Cure - New York Times - June 22nd, 2017
- DNA from Egyptian mummies and Viking graves reveals how cats conquered the world - Popular Science - June 19th, 2017
- Philly nursing home has abysmal rating and rodents, too - Philly.com - June 12th, 2017
- Rat Mob! Rodents Swarm in Myanmar Villages - Live Science - June 8th, 2017
- Villagers fight back as rat hordes swarm Irrawaddy Delta's Ngapudaw - DVB (registration) - June 6th, 2017
- Minnesota sewer rats create nightmare for homeowner - THV 11 - June 6th, 2017
- My College Roommates Were Rats - The New Yorker - June 6th, 2017
- Thursday's best TV: Paula; The Truth About HIV; Jago: A Life ... - The Guardian - May 25th, 2017
- The Arizona Department of Economic Security Is Infested With Rats (Literally) - Phoenix New Times - May 20th, 2017
- MPI's Changes To Rodent Claim Policy Could Mean Lost Local Jobs ... - PembinaValleyOnline.com - May 1st, 2017
- Rodent Control and Removal Methods | Terminix - April 29th, 2017
- Long-time Atlanta restaurant fails second health inspection in seven months - WSB Atlanta - April 19th, 2017
- Burrowing rodents threaten Central Oregon canals - The Register-Guard - April 13th, 2017
- Former employee posts video of rats in Denison Little Caesar's - KXII-TV - April 13th, 2017
- San Francisco Cockroach Exterminator Bed Bug Rodent & Ant Pest Control Announced - MilTech - April 12th, 2017
- Digging rodents threaten canal safety in Central Oregon; Ground ... - Bend Bulletin - April 12th, 2017
- Rats! Infestation forces firefighters from Riverside South station ... - Ottawa Sun - April 3rd, 2017
- Exterminators tackle Riverside South fire station rats - Ottawa Citizen - April 3rd, 2017
- Massive amounts of trash are attracting rats and ruining this neighborhood - New York Post - April 3rd, 2017
- 'Swainsboro Apartments' Facing Major Rodent Problems That Are Going Unnoticed by Management - WJBF-TV - March 30th, 2017
- Gnawing costs force Manitoba Public Insurance to change rodent claim policy - Yahoo News - March 24th, 2017
- Gnawing costs force Manitoba Public Insurance to change rodent claim policy - Brandon Sun - March 23rd, 2017
- Rat Hunters in Paris Go on Strike to Demand Pay Raise - Heat Street - March 16th, 2017
- What killed owl at Forest Lawn? Maybe not what you think. - Buffalo News - March 5th, 2017
- What killed owl at Forest Lawn? Maybe not what you think. - The ... - Buffalo News - March 2nd, 2017
- Guardian Angels take up rat control as side gig - New York Post - March 2nd, 2017
- CIRCLING THE SQUARE: The Oscars were nothing compared to my squirrels - Wicked Local Danvers - March 2nd, 2017
- Tell me all you know about the rat! - Kokomo Herald (press release) - February 25th, 2017
- Don't bother petting these cats -- they're working - CBS News - February 24th, 2017
- 'The Cat That Changed America' premieres: Documentary stars Malibuites and local advocates - Malibu Surfside News (press release) (registration)... - February 21st, 2017
- College girls hailed for rat extermination genius - New York Post - February 17th, 2017
- Bed Bugs Found at Second DC Elementary School - NBC4 Washington - February 16th, 2017
- Paris fights rat infestation - WSYR - February 16th, 2017
- Notorious slumlord owns building with disease-carrying rats - New York Post - February 16th, 2017
- The US Army vet, IDF volunteer, now in Congress - Jewish Journal - February 8th, 2017
- Rodents and Rodent Control - Do-It-Yourself Pest Control - January 7th, 2017
- MIce & Rodents Control NY, NJ, PA & MD | Exterminator For ... - December 3rd, 2016
- Pest Control in Santa Rosa, CA | Termites, Rodents & Insects - September 17th, 2016