At least 70 people have died this year
of rat urine disease, which is spreading more rapidly as floods
sweep through Thailand's northern and northeastern regions, according to the
Ministry of Public Health.
A ministry release said 1,639 people have been infected with
leptospirosis, which is transmitted by rat urine, during the first
six months of the year and the number has been rising because of
recent heavy rainfalls and flooding.
The northeast provinces most inundated by flash floods, have the
highest infection rates, a release said.
Rats are rampant in many areas of rural Thailand. Patients with
leptospirosis develop high fever, headaches and muscle pains _
symptoms often taken for the flu. If detected early, the illness is
The disease killed 130 people nationwide last year, the highest
toll since it was first identified in Thailand in 1985.