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Diseased rat urine kills New Yorker in outbreak of rare illness

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Diseased rat urine has killed at least one person and sickened two others in New York City in an outbreak of a rarely seen infection, prompting calls from city officials on Wednesday for a renewed effort to cull the rodent population.

The outbreak of leptospirosis began in December and all three cases were traced to a single-block area of the Bronx, New York’s northernmost borough, the city’s health department said in a statement on Tuesday.

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Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread by rodents and certain other animals that can cause fever, vomiting and kidney damage. It can be treated with antibiotics but is sometimes deadly.

Two people were diagnosed in December and the third in February, the department said. While one died, the other two have since recovered. The department did not identify the patients, nor say exactly how it thought the three people were exposed to the infected rat urine. Typically, humans get infected through contact with tainted water.

The death prompted Ruben Diaz, the Bronx borough president, to lament the city’s centuries-old efforts to curtail its persistent rat population.

“It is unfathomable to me that in this day and age, in one of the most expensive cities in the world and at our most technologically advanced point as a civilization, the city cannot mitigate the rat problem nor does it have good ideas to do so,” Diaz said in a statement.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 100 and 200 cases of leptospirosis are identified each year in the country. About half of them occur in Hawaii. New York City only sees one to three cases in a typical year, the city’s health department said.

Mary Bassett, the city’s health commissioner, was due to visit the affected block on Wednesday afternoon to reassure residents that the city was working to reduce the number of rats living there.

(This version of the story has been refiled to correct the spelling of leptospirosis in 2nd paragraph)

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(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Tom Brown)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady

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MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.

"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."

Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.

Watch the video below from MSNBC.

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‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case

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Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."

She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.

"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."

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WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial

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President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."

"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."

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