Weil ’s disease and its Preventive Measurements
Weil’s disease is a potentially fatal water-borne bacterial infection, officially known as Leptospirosis, spread by rodents, cattle, and pigs.
People get infected with Weil’s disease when they come in contact with fresh contaminated water with the urine of rats and cattle. This bacterium can be found in ponds, rivers, puddles, sewers, agricultural fields, and moist soil. And when the flood comes, the risk of the disease is heightened because the stagnant, contaminated water gets in touch with other water bodies.
What is Weil’s disease?
Weil’s disease or Leptospirosis is one of the most widespread zoonoses in the world and very commonly found in tropical and subtropical environments. It is a bacterial infection and can infect almost any animals as it harbours in the kidneys, but it is mostly found in rats and cattle and spread it through their urine. People who take part in water sports, come into contact with untreated water, and work in or near water are at a higher risk than the others as it is most commonly passed to humans through water contaminated by rat and cattle urine.
How Weil’s disease Spread?
The Weil’s disease usually occurs if one has open wounds, and those are immersed in relatively stagnant water contaminated with rat or cattle urine. It can also come from any fresh or untreated water, including ponds, canals, lakes, rivers, and floodwaters that are contaminated.
- Swimmers who expose their whole body are at the highest risk of infection.
- Activities which people do in or near freshwaters such as fishing, water skiing, sailing, and kayaking also pose a threat.
- People who have previously suffered from leptospirosis usually develop immunity to the particular strain that they were infected with, and others closely related for up to ten years. They are not immune to other strains and may become infected again if continuing in activities where it is a risk.
- Weil’s disease doesn’t occur if anyone swallowed contaminated water or got bitten by a rat.
- It is seen that the bacteria are unable to survive in the brackish water, so there is no risk of infection of Weil’s disease from swimming in the sea.
Symptoms of Weil’s Disease?
Symptoms of Weil’s disease can occur between 3 and 21 days from the time of infection. There are two separate phases of leptospirosis.
- The first phase:
- Symptoms of Weil’s disease are almost similar to those of the flu, including high fever, severe headache, chill, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may also include a kind of rash.
- Can last between 3 to 5 days before recovery.
- In mild cases, the patient recovers after just the first phase but they can suffer fatigue and depression for some time afterwards.
- The second phase:
- Initial symptoms will reoccur.
- Further symptoms can vary according to the severity and may include jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
- Symptoms can be similar to those of meningitis.
- Severe cases can also cause the failure of kidneys or liver.
- Death can occur due to heart, liver or respiratory failure.
How to take preventive measurements?
- Try not to walk through floodwaters if possible;
- Don’t let children play in stagnant puddles and pools;
- Wear gloves and other protective gear to potentially contaminated water;
- Keep cuts and scratches covered with waterproof plasters wherever possible;
- Wash yourself and any open wounds as soon as possible if exposed to floodwater;
- Do not swallow contaminated water;
- Contact pest control service provider as soon as you notice a rodent infestation occurring;
- Disinfect any surfaces and areas, and throw away any food that has been subject to a rodent infestation.
If you think that you’re infected then what you should do?
Firstly, don’t panic. If you have flu-like symptoms mentioned above, contact the doctor and after that pest control service provider as early as possible.