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UK: Leptospirosis Warning

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    Posted: July 17 2018 at 7:05am

Weil’s disease: warnings over deadly bug in UK waters

Jul 17, 2018

Rivers, canals and ponds could be contaminated with infected animal urine

With the UK sizzling under one of the warmest summers in recent memory, it’s only natural that Brits would feel the temptation to cool off with a dip in the water.  However, freshwater bathing spots like rivers, canals and ponds can host a potentially fatal infection called Weil’s disease.
What is Weil’s disease?

Leptospirosis, known in its more severe form as Weil’s disease, is a bacterial infection found in water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, most commonly rats or livestock.

As well as being inadvertently swallowed, contaminated water can pass on the infection through any broken skin, such as cuts or scrapes.

The risk to the average bather is “minimal”, says the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. However, “those who participate in watersports, come into contact with untreated water, and work in or near water are at a higher risk than others”.

Last year, there were 87 confirmed cases of leptospirosis in England and Wales, according to Public Health England statistics. The majority involved patients who had contracted the infection while abroad or whose work exposed them to untreated water or rodents.

However, the recent heatwave has prompted warnings for bathers and waterspots fans to be mindful of the risk entering unclean rivers, lakes, canals, reservoirs and ponds.

“Another reason for extra vigilance during the summer holiday is that rats tend to congregate on water banks, where picnicking families have left bits of food behind or children throw pieces of bread to feed ducks”, says the Daily Mirror.

What are the symptoms of Weil’s disease?

The early symptoms of Weil’s disease - fever, headache, nausea and aching joint - usually present several days after exposure and can easily be mistaken for flu.

More serious symptoms include yellowing skin and eyes, swollen ankles, feet or hands, chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing up blood.

The vast majority of cases can be cured with a simple course of antibiotics, but in rare instances, Weil’s disease can be fatal. British Olympic rower Andy Holmes died of organ failure in 2010 days after competing in a marathon rowing event on the River Witham in Lincolnshire.

Source:   http://www.theweek.co.uk/95105/weil-s-disease-warnings-over-deadly-bug-in-uk-waters

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2018 at 5:12am
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