Dangers of Weil's disease

Published: Monday, 01 November 2010

MANY of you will have learnt that sadly, Andy Holmes, a former Olympic gold medal rower has fallen prey to Weil's disease in the past few days.

Most of us know of the perils of this disease, but whilst it is in the news, albeit in tragic circumstances, David Morris asks that you all pass the message on to friends and family to be careful.

Especially at risk

Anyone with open cuts or sores is especially at risk close to the water, particularly canal water that is the habitat of infected rats and water voles that carry Weil's disease or Leptospirosis. It is contracted through contact with water carrying urine from the infected animals.

Boaters should always thoroughly wash their hands when clearing out their boat's weed hatch or handling ropes that have been in contact with the water, especially if having cuts or wounds that would add to the risk of infection.

There is no known cure for the disease once it gets hold, closing down the essential organs, with death occurring in most circumstances.