Weils Disease

We draw your attention to the following health information for those involved in water sports issued by BC (British Canoeing).

Weils disease is an illness that is very rare. It is carried in the urine of infected animals, particularly rats.

The main danger from the illness is that it is so rare that doctors may not immediately recognise it.

If the participant suffers from symptoms such as flu, jaundice or conjunctivitis after they have participated in water sports, they should go straight to his/her doctor and say that they have been involved in water sports. You should insist that the doctor places you on a course of penicillin or similar antibiotics, as this form of medication effectively deals with the bacteria causing the illness.

Early identification of the disease is the key to recovery.

To avoid illness and reduce the risk of catching the diseases please remember to:

  • cover with waterproof plasters all scratches, cuts sores and skin affected by eczema etc.
  • wash your hands before you eat and always shower after water sports
  • avoid capsizing canoes etc. If necessary use a mask or nose clip
  • see your doctor if you feel ill following involvement in water sports

Please remember do not:

  • put wet lines, ropes, or other objects in your mouth
  • go in or near the water without wearing footwear
  • pick up or touch dead animals especially rats
  • leave food, bait or ground bait on river banks
  • please take all your rubbish home

We give this information out in hope that people will not over react. All activities have some risk. The most dangerous part being the road journey to our centres. If you require further information, please contact your doctor or local environmental health department.