We have recently had a warning from Woodmill that some of their paddlers have caught Weil’s disease, and they think that it may have been caught from the River Itchen. In light of this the committee has taken the decision to cancel the river session TOMORROW (23/11/11). If you have already signed up then there’s no point turning up as no one will be there I’m afraid. We keeping up to date with Woodmill and we hope the water to be safe again next week. Pool sessions and the social are going ahead as planned yay!
Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis) is spread by animals (mainly rats) urinating in the water, and the bacteria is spread to humans. This occurs through open cuts, ears, mouth nose being exposed to the water with the bacteria in. Unfortunately for us paddlers who are rolling/swimming in the water we tend to expose ourselves quite a lot (no pun intended!). The risk of getting Weil’s disease from moving water (the Itchen is tidal) is even quite unlikely but there is a small risk still there.
The symptoms for Weil’s disease are very similar to that of a cold or flu (high temperature, vomiting, coughing ect.) and usually occur within 7 to 14 days after paddling on the water. If you get these symptoms within that time scale then we advise that you see a doctor and tell them you’ve been kayaking recently. If you did catch it and went to a doctor, they’d give you some antibiotic tablets which would fix you within a week. The only real danger is if it is not caught in time, this can lead to serious symptoms such as organ problems and can even be fatal!
How to avoid it…
Cover any open cuts with a waterproof dressing/plaster, try not to drink river water, try to wash your hands with soap before eating, and make sure you wash after paddling.
This isn’t meant to scare you but as you’re all becoming better paddlers you should start to become more aware of the risks involved with the sport (even if they are small). We’re expecting the possible bacteria in the water to be gone within a week (after the tide has been in and out a few times). We’re keeping in contact with Woodmill Canoe Shop who first flagged up the risk and are keeping us updated.
So anyway don’t let this scare you off, this is a quote from the NHS about Weil’s disease: “In England and Wales the rates of leptospirosis are very low, so there is no reason why you should not participate in freshwater recreational activities, such as swimming, sailing, water skiing or windsurfing”.
“An expert in leptospirosis has estimated that the risk of contracting a leptospirosis infection by taking part in these types of activities is as low as 1 in 10 million”.
If you do want a bit more information then see http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/
See you all at the social on Wednesday!
Stabby Joe x