By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In Ireland, health officials have notified Waterways Ireland of a number of cases of Leptospirosis reported recently following exposure to the water in the Royal Canal in North Dublin.

Image/Robert Herriman

Individuals are instructed not to engage in swimming, diving or immersive activity such as deliberate capsizing in the Royal Canal in North Dublin, pending further advisory.

The Health Services Executive (HSE- Department of Public Health) further advises all Individuals partaking in water sports (and in turn for Activity Providers to advise their clients) of the risk, which is small but real, of acquiring Leptospirosis from water-based activities. Persons with symptoms (a flu like illness) within a three-week period after engaging in a water-based activity should seek medical attention immediately, mentioning any watercourse exposure.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection frequently found both in domestic and wild animals, which can spread to humans. Leptospirosis in Ireland is usually picked up from rats. The infection is spread through contact with rats, or rat urine generally.

Leptospirosis is a recreational hazard for those who participate in outdoor sports in contaminated areas and has been associated with water sports. Occupations at risk would include veterinary surgeons, farmers, meat inspectors, butchers, abattoir and sewer workers. High-risk water includes stagnant, dirty-looking or obviously polluted fresh water found in ditches, drains, ponds, lakes or rivers. Sea water poses less risk.

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