The risk of contracting Weil’s disease is slight but it is a serious condition and we want you to be fully informed.
As you may know, rats pee as they run. Rat urine is a source of Weil’s disease. Weil’s disease causes kidney damage and is potentially fatal. It is primarily a disease of river banks and farmyards, not river water or river mud as many believe – rats live on land!
How to protect yourself:
* Always wash your hands thoroughly before you eat or drink.
* Immediately clean and cover grazes and cuts, even small ones.
* Keep your head (eyes, nose and throat) out of the water as much as possible.
If you or a member of your group develop flu like symptoms within about three weeks of the event (the incubation period can be a lot shorter), they should be taken to the doctor immediately for diagnosis. Inform the doctor that you have been involved in river activity. Symptoms include high fever, chills, joint pain, muscle pain (esp in the calves, oddly), headaches (sometimes with light-aversion), nausea, cough, loss of appetite. It’s very unlikely but needs to be watched for.
If you follow sensible hygiene as outlined above then the risk is low.
See more at: ‘Wild Swimming Safety (Freshwater)’