Illness hits UH
flood cleanup worker
A faculty member is diagnosed
with a case of leptospirosis
A faculty member involved in the flood cleanup at the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus has been diagnosed with leptospirosis, the university reported yesterday.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a bacteria commonly found in streams in Hawaii. It can be transmitted through contact with stream water or wet soil or plants contaminated with animal urine. The disease can be fatal, and the university is urging people who have symptoms to check with their doctors.
The faculty member helped clean up the Biomedical Sciences building after Manoa Stream overflowed on Oct. 30. But other details about his or her condition were not released because of privacy laws.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash.
If untreated, the disease can also lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and respiratory distress.
In April, the state Health Department issued an advisory because of a high number of leptospirosis cases this year. In the first quarter of the year, 21 cases were reported, including the death of Big Island college student Simon Hultman, 22. Last year there were 36 cases reported statewide, nine on Oahu.
Yesterday also marked one month since the Manoa flood.
UH President David McClain has said the damage could exceed $25 million, the ceiling for insurance payments.
Anything over that amount would not be covered and the university may need help from the Legislature for additional costs.
University spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka said a damage estimate may be available next week.
Friday is the deadline for insurance claims.
The UH Foundation has also set up a support fund to help Hamilton Library, which suffered an estimated $10 million in damages, and for other flood relief on campus. So far, more than 760 people have donated a total of $60,000, said Laurie Abe, a spokeswoman for the foundation.
Cleanup is expected to be completed at Sakamaki Hall and the Agricultural Engineering Building today. Cleanup was finished this week at Gilmore Hall, Keller Hall, the Athletic Complex, Physical Science, Pope Lab and Snyder Hall.
Temporary power is scheduled to be restored to the Biomed Tower, floors 2 through 7, by noon today.
On Monday, the university reported that permanent power was restored to Agricultural Science Phase II, Auxiliary Services, Biogenesis Lab, Food Science & Technology, Hale Kahawai, St. John Plant Science Lab and Sherman Lab.