Liffey canoeists contract Weils disease

The Eastern Regional Health Authority has issued a public health warning on the dangers of water activities after three canoeists contracted Weils disease.

The Eastern Regional Health Authority has issued a public health warning on the dangers of water activities after three canoeists contracted Weils disease.

The canoeists became ill after a trip on the Liffey near Lucan and were hospitalised for a short time.

Weils disease is spread through contact with rats, or from rat, cattle or dog urine. It is a bacterial infection resulting from exposure to the Leptospira interrogans bacterium.

A spokesperson for the ERHA says people can protect themselves from the infection by avoiding water activities in polluted water, and covering cuts with a waterproof dressing.

Early symptoms of Weils disease are fever, chills, muscular aches and pains, loss of appetite, and nausea when lying down. Later symptoms include bruising of the skin, anaemia, sore eyes, nose bleeds and jaundice. The fever lasts for approximately five days, then a significant deterioration follows. (Source: The Leptospirosis Information Centre)

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