Puerto Rico death toll rises to 45, governor says

A man walks past a house laying in flood water in Catano town, in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico, on September 21, 2017. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/GETTY

PUERTO RICO — The death toll in Puerto Rico has risen to 45 in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the island’s governor told CBS News correspondent David Begnaud on Tuesday.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said the two recent deaths are believed to be from the bacterial infection known as Leptospirosis. He said the deaths occurred in a Bayamón hospital.

“[The infection] is typically contracted by some contact with urine from rodents or animals that have the bacteria,” Rossello said.

Five more patients in Canóvanas have symptoms consistent with the disease, but test results are pending to confirm the infection, Rossello said. The patients are currently being treated with antibiotics.

Rossello told Begnaud that he’s worried about an impending public health crisis. “When these crisis hit, you solve some problems, and then some potential longer term problems might be provoked.”

Eighty-five percent of Puerto Rico is still without power after the U.S. was rocked by Maria 20 days ago. There are at least 19,000 federal civilian or military personnel assisting on the ground.

Around 77 percent of Puerto Rico’s grocery stores are open. Forty-percent of people not have access to drinkable water.

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