Water voles and Weil's disease

Published: Friday, 06 December 2019

FOR many years I have been canvassing for warnings of the danger of Weil's disease for swimmers in the canals, writes John Trenhale.

So I was particularly pleased to see that at last someone had had the gumption to publish the fact that water voles as well as rats can pass on the disease, for it seems that the water agencies in promoting their interests in water voles and providing habitats, fail to warn people that their secretions can kill.

Rat[This photograph was taken by tthe moorings on the Main Line just down from Sea Life in central Birmingham by boater Brian Jarrett, who remarks that it was certainly not 'better by water' for this creature!]

Family member

I had a young family member who swam in the locks of canals who was unlucky enough to catch Weil's disease, and like the teenager you report, subsequently died.

After the death I made a point of travelling to inspect the locks on canals all over the country but was unable to find any warnings posted by any of them of the dangers of swimming in the locks, only many [notices] saying it was 'better by water', that alas it certainly is not for those that catch that awful fatal disease.

I have been told that one agency does publish warnings at the beginning of summer on its web site, but I don't believe this is enough as people will not see it, but if a notice was say attached to the lock, they would, and perhaps take notice.