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Residents cautioned after workman contracts Weil's Disease

1.3 from 3 votes
Thursday, November 26, 2009

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Residents of Tewkesbury are being urged to take care when working outside after a local workman was diagnosed with a potentially deadly disease.

The worker, who was clearing a ditch of fly-tipped waste, contracted leptospirosis - commonly known as Weil’s disease.

The disease is transmitted through contact with animal urine, particularly from rodents, cattle and pigs, but any mammal can carry it.

In most cases leptospirosis is very mild, but it can also be deadly, so recognising the early flu-like symptoms is important because it can easily be treated with antibiotics.

Other signs may also include jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and/or a rash, and usually develops within seven to 12 days after initial infection, but symptoms may be as long as 30 days to manifest themselves.

In general, cases will recover fully within two to six weeks but some may take up to three months, and two to three people in England and Wales die every year from the disease.

Although the disease is fairly uncommon in the UK, Tewkesbury Borough Council is reminding residents to protect themselves when working outside, as the disease is common during this time of year.

Lead member for clean and green environment, Coun Jim Mason, said: “Although this is a rare disease, the recent case in the Borough highlights the importance of raising awareness.

“People really need to take extra care when working in areas where animal urine may be present.”

The following precautions can reduce the risk of infection, especially if someone is working in contact with fresh surface waters, like canals, ponds or rivers, for work or recreational activities:

  • Cover cuts, scratches or sores with a waterproof plaster and thoroughly clean cuts received during activities
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing, gloves or footwear
  • Wash or shower promptly after water sports
  • Wash your hands after handling animals, and before eating
  • If you place drinks into water to keep cool during your activities, dry the outside of the bottle or preferably decant into a cup before drinking.

© Copyright 2001-2009

Source: Tewkesbury ADMAG
1.3 from 3 votes
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