20 November 2020

Weil's Disease

Weil's Disease is a bacterial infection, a form of Leptospirosis. It is caught by coming into contact with urine, blood or tissue from an infected cow, pig, dog, mouse, rat, and possibly bat. It is also caught from contact with contaminated water or contaminated soil.

Hill walkers and kayakers can be exposed to this; either through ingestion or transmission through a scratch/cut.

Four simple examples I have seen of infection:
1. Kayaker accidentally swallowing infected river water.
2. Hill walker drinking from a stream.
3. Hill walker putting their sandwich down on a stream bank.
4. Farmer fencing across boggy ground.

Flu-like symptoms develop approx two weeks after infection; however they can develop in anything from two days to thirty days after infection.

Initial Symptoms Include Any Of The Following:
Muscle Ache
Head Ache
Appetite Loss

Organ Failure And Death Can Result If Not Treated.

Recommended Approach:
1. Think prevention.
2. Be aware and vigilant.
3. If flu-like symptoms develop two to thirty days after outdoor sports, like hiking, climbing or kayaking, make a doctor visit and tell them you suspect weil's disease/leptospirosis.

Useful Links:
1. https://www.healthline.com/health/weils-disease
2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leptospirosis

Nathan Kingerlee - Outdoors Ireland Training School

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