first_imgTHE HSE has today issued a public health warning over an illness normally spread by rats but which can be spread through domestic pets after several people got the illness here.Leptospirosis is an infection frequently found both in domestic and wild animals, which can spread to humans through contact.Leptospirosis in Ireland is usually picked up from rats, although a milder form can be caught from cattle or dogs. Most times the infection causes a flu-like illness, with a persistent and severe headache. A few people can develop meningitis and occasionally it can develop into Weil’s disease. Dr Anthony Breslin, Specialist in Public Health Medicine in the North West said, “As this is the start time for outdoor activities and people also start cleaning out sheds etc they should be aware of the infection and take the basic precautions but pay particular attention to covering any cuts or abrasions with a waterproof dressing.“The infection is spread through contact with rats, or rat, cattle or dog urine or foetal fluids from cattle. Infected urine or contaminated water can be found in sewers, ditches, ponds, canals and slow-flowing rivers and river banks. Rat urine may also contaminate animal feed stuffs on farms.“There have been a small number of Leptospirosis cases in the North West in the recent weeks and I would urge people to take the following simple precautions. If you get a flu-like illness within a three week period after engaging in any activity which could have brought you in contact with the infection, you should visit your doctor immediately, and tell her or him of your concerns and possible exposure to dirty or stagnant water.”How is Leptospirosis spread? The infection is spread through contact with rats, or rat, cattle or dog urine or foetal fluids from cattle.How might I catch it?If you are in contact with infected urine, the bacteria which causes leptospirosis can get into your body through cuts and scratches and through the lining of the mouth, throat and eyes.Where might I catch it?Infected urine or contaminated water can be found in sewers, ditches, ponds, canals and slow-flowing rivers and river banks. Rat urine may also contaminate animal feed stuffs on farms. Who is at risk of Leptospirosis?· Those who fish swim or use the water for other recreational purposes, people who engage in outdoor pursuits in contaminated areas, farmers, workers in contact with canal or river water, vets, meat inspectors, butchers, abattoir and sewer workers.· Dog owners and those who work with dogs may be at risk if hygiene is inadequate.· Recent cases have occurred in golfers who have been infected while retrieving golf balls from stagnant pools. High risk water includes stagnant, dirty-looking or obviously polluted fresh water found in ditches, drains, ponds, lakes or rivers. Sea water poses very little risk.What precautions should I take?· Do not go swimming or boating in water which is obviously polluted.· Cover any cuts or abrasions with a waterproof dressing while swimming or canoeing.· Shower thoroughly following water activities.· Make sure the sporting clothing you wear minimises your contact with water.· Wash your hands after handling any animal or contaminated clothing and always before eating, drinking or smoking.· Clean any cuts acquired during swimming, fishing or other near-water activities. Apply first aid as soon as possible.· Rinse dogs who have been swimming in high risk water to reduce the risk of infection.· High risk workers should always wear their personal protective equipment and clothing at all times when in high risk situations.Remember!If you get a flu-like illness within a three week period after engaging in any of these activities you should visit your doctor immediately, and tell her or him of your concerns and possible exposure to dirty or stagnant water.HSE ISSUES PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING OVER ILLNESS CAUGHT FROM RATS was last modified: May 15th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:HSELeptospirosispublic health warningratslast_img

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