This is all I know, makes you think about chasing flash floods.
HEALTH ALERT - LEPTOSPIROSIS
This past week Strat Douglas was admitted to West Virginia University
Hospital in Morgantown after three days of pounding headaches, severe muscle aches, and a fever of 104 degrees. He thought he had the flu, but initial tests gave early indications of kidney and liver damage. Further testing revealed that he had Leptospirosis, a rare water-borne bacterial infection.
Antibiotics were administered intravenously and he was kept in the hospital
for several days. He is now cured, and says he would have gotten to a doctor a lot faster if he'd knew about this condition. He also learned that anotherkayaker, an Emergency Room physician at the hospital contracted the disease
Leptospirosis is caused by water contaminated with the urine of infected
animals. The bacteria have been found in cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, rats,
and wild animals. Humans become infected through contact with water, food, or soil contaminated by their urine. The infection usually begins with skin contact, especially via mucosal surfaces like as the eyes or nose, or
through broken skin. The bacteria survive in fresh water for as many as 16
days and in soil for as many as 24 days. The time between exposure to the
contaminated water and the onset of sickness is between 2 days and 4 weeks.
The bacteria can spread to any part of the body but the liver and kidneys
are especially at risk..Leptospirosis is a known occupational hazard for farmers, sewer workers,veterinarians, dairy farmers, and military personnel. It's a known to infect campers, swimmers, waders, and paddlers who use contaminated lakes andrivers. In 1997 a group of Americans who went white-water rafting in Costa Rica contracted the disease. In 1998 a number of athletes developed Leptospirosis after completing a triathlon in Springfield, Illinois. The
event included a swim in Lake Springfield. An outbreak also occurred among those competing in Eco-Challenge Sabah 2000 in Malaysia.
Strat traces his infection to a late fall run on the nearby Big Sandy River
two weeks ago. It was made after an intense storm that dropped 2 inches of rain in just over an hour. Many local roads were badly eroded. The rain
actually fell on a very small area. The Little Sandy and Sovern Run were
quite high, but the river at Rockville was moderate and at Bruceton Mills it
was too low to paddle. Cattle ranching is a major occupation around here,
and cows live on all the surrounding hills.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills,
muscle aches, and vomiting. It may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If the disease is not
treated, the patient can develop kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure,
and respiratory distress. Some people die; others have no symptoms at all
and become carriers of the disease. Treatment includes antibiotics like
doxycycline or penicillin, which ideally should be given early in the course
of the disease. Intravenous antibiotics are required for persons with more
AW Safety Editor