I have heard about the Kelvin and its dodgy water for a while – mostly idle talk from passer-by’s and dark talk about rats piss from anglers. Well I was browsing around and came across this chaps site who likes to…..get this…..go near the water without a rod in hand and take a boat out on the river. Yes, I found it all very odd as well – however it seems these “boat people” have the same ideas and problems as us anglers:
…this has been quite a good paddling season in
so far, there has been some really wet weekends, although typically the rain pelts down on a Sunday night and so the rivers are swollen during the week when I’m at uni, and everyone else is at work. But if you try hard enough you can often find like minded people that have skipped lectures or called in sick. Scotland
Anyway, if you read on you find out the chaps pal came down with an infection called Leptospirosis after paddling with his boat in the Kelvin. The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or with the mucous membranes. Leptospirosis is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal, and is contagious as long as it is still moist. Although rats, mice and voles are hosts, a wide range of other mammals including dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, cows and sheep are possible transmitters.In most cases the infection causes a flu-like illness and severe headaches. The severe form of the disease (Weil’s disease) causes jaundice and liver damage and carries a reported death rate anywhere between 4-40% which would bring the annual membership of the KAA down to around 200 I would imagine. However only about 10-15% of affected people suffer this more dangerous form. Leptospirosis starts about 10 days (it can vary between 7-12 days) after infection with the bacteria, and may be so mild as to be unsuspected. In more severe cases it starts suddenly with:
- severe muscle aches and tenderness
- redness of the eyes
- loss of appetite
- sometimes a skin rash
Well it could be argued the symptoms are every similar to ones you might get when the old ball n’ chain starts talking about the kitchen shelves or even painting the back bedroom. However considering the amount of rats I have seen while fishing on the Kelvin (along with the other wildlife) I think taking the following precautions would be prudent:
- Do not drink the water
- If you have any open wounds (cuts in your hand) make sure they are covered by a plaster – might be worthwhile carrying some plasters with you.
- Best not to splash your face with water on a hot day I would imagine.
- If you cut your hand while fishing might be best to head home and thoroughly disinfect it.
- If you notice any symptoms get yourself along to the GP as soon as possible.
I am reminded of one occasion when I tripped over a submerged bike while wading and cut my hand on a piece of metal. A rather nasty gash it was too. I telephoned the GP who insisted there was no cause for alarm as the recent findings with tetanus showed that as long as you had had a booster in the last few years you do not need another one.
“And where abouts were you fishing?” the Doc asked all friendly like just before I hung up.
“The Kelvin” I answered.
“Hmmm better get you down here to see the Nurse just in case” was the quick reply.
Happy Urban Fishing…..