Advice for the prevention of Weil’s Disease

British Rowing has been advised of several new cases of Weil’s Disease on the River Itchen, Southampton.

Five people are thought to have contracted the disease after canoeing on the Hampshire river in November, though only one case has been confirmed by the Health Protection Agency.

While the risk of contracting Leptospirosis from recreational water is very small, the serious nature of the disease is such that we must be aware of the dangers and should take simple precautions to reduce the risk of infection.

Leptospirosis is an infection caught through contact with infected animal urine (mainly from rodents, cattle or pigs). The causal organism can enter the body via cuts or abrasions of the skin or, the lining of the nose, mouth, throat or eyes.

If flu-like symptoms develop shortly after contact with the water (1-3 weeks) then your doctor should be contacted and advised of the circumstances of exposure.

There is information about the precautions that Clubs and rowers should take in Section 5.3 of Row Safe: a guide to good practice in rowing. All British Rowing Clubs have a copy of the guidance or follow the link below to the online guidance.

Row Safe: 5.3 – water-borne diseases

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