This advice is given in an advisory capacity as guidance and good practice in the event of possible contamination by water borne infections. This information is for your protection. Should any symptoms occur within 2 weeks of contact with canal or river water, you should seek medical advice and inform your doctor that you have been in contact with untreated water. Carry a copy of this information with you and show it to them.
ADVICE AND WARNING TO BOATERS
Weil’s Disease or Leptospirosis is a water-borne infection that can be transmitted to humans by contact with urine from infected rats or cattle. Although the risk of contracting the illness is extremely low, sensible precautions should be taken as follows:
- Prior to any contact with river or canal water, or with structures or banks beside rivers or canals, cover all cuts and abrasions with waterproof dressings.
- Avoid full immersion in the water.
- After being in contact with river or canal water, or with structures or banks beside rivers or canals, wash all exposed skin thoroughly with antibacterial soap and clean water. If your clothes or footwear are wet or dirty, wash your hands thoroughly after handling them. It is vital that you do this before eating or drinking.
- Infection may enter through breaks in the skin, so take particular care to wash any cut, scratch or abrasion immediately. Thoroughly wash the wound in clean water and apply a sterile dressing, with antiseptic if available.
- Avoid rubbing your nose, eyes or mouth with your hands as infection may also enter the body orally.
- Do not put wet ropes, fishing lines or other objects in your mouth.
- URINE IS ALSO PRESENT ON THE BANK - TAKE CARE MOORING
- Ask your family and friends to read this information.
Symptoms begin between 3 and 21 days after exposure, with an influenza-like illness with severe headache, high fever, tiredness, chills, muscle aches and vomiting. Later symptoms may include jaundice, eye redness, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Severe cases can cause failure of kidneys or liver. The disease can be fatal – do not ignore symptoms.
MEDICAL ADVICE – FOR THE ATTENTION OF YOUR MEDICAL ATTENDANT
The holder of this leaflet is engaged in activities on canals and rivers which may expose him/her to the danger of Leptospirosis (either L. icterohaemorrhagiae or L. hardjo).
Early diagnosis and treatment are vital.
If this person is suffering from symptoms of Leptospirosis you should notify your Environmental Health Officer immediately. Diagnosis is based on laboratory investigations but early use of antibiotics can greatly shorten the illness. Your Environmental Health Officer, Public Health Laboratory Service or hospital consultant microbiologist will be able to advise you on where these investigations can be undertaken in your area and will be able to offer advice on treatment.