Dozens died from treatable illness in Puerto Rico after Maria

People walk on a flooded street in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 22, 2017.
Photo: AFP Contributor/Getty Images

At least 26 people died of the bacterial disease leptospirosis in Puerto Rico during the six months after Hurricane Maria, according to a new report from CNN and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo.

Why it matters: Leptospirosis, an illness often spread in floodwaters via animal urine, is rarely a fatal disease and is easily treatable with antibiotics — but the Puerto Rican government refused to declare an outbreak, which could have furthered the illness' effects by failing to prompt greater surveillance and prevention efforts.