Leptospirosis

Inland paddling
Post Reply
TM.
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:21 pm
Been thanked: 1 time

Leptospirosis

Post by TM. » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:26 pm

Hi all
Looking for some advice .. this week I've been feeling rubbish, shivers, aching muscles and joints, appetite loss. I clearly have some form of infection - and today I found I've developed a rash. I've just begun to wonder if I might have Leptospirosis. I am beginning to feel better but am feeling I should probably go to my GP and ask for antibiotics in case (although goodness knows how persuadable they'll be). Any advice welcome. Cheers!

Mrstratos61
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:16 pm
Has thanked: 19 times
Been thanked: 20 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by Mrstratos61 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:50 pm

As a nurse I say if in doubt go simple as that.at the very least ask for a phone consultation if you aren't sure . If googling things I always advise only using recognised uk sites . Nhs or gov uk. It's pretty rare though I have looked after 1 person who developed Weils and needed itu
Last edited by Mrstratos61 on Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Poke
Posts: 4861
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2002 4:35 pm
Location: Wigan
Been thanked: 13 times
Contact:

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by Poke » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:56 pm

I'm no expert, but... maybe don't go to the GP demanding antibiotics, but go and tell them your symptoms & suspicions with a list of your paddling activities over the past few weeks and see what they think. Maybe enquire what tests are would confirm it and what would qualify you for them?

There's an interesting first hand account form a paddler here, if you're interested, which might help make your mind up as to a course of action:
viewtopic.php?p=700571#p700571

Some good advice lower down the page too: viewtopic.php?p=700999#p700999
caveman_si wrote:...work issue us with lepto cards that we should present everytime we go to a doctor when we are feeling unwell. The card has ........ medical instructions that say:

"The holder of the this card is engaged in work whcih may bring them into contact with water or material which may be contaminated with Leptospira.
None of the symptons of early Leptospirosis or Weils Disease are pathognomonic and diagnosis is based on laborarty investigations. Should you suspect the holder may have been infected please arrange for the appropriate tests. The infection may resemble influenza in the early stages
".
Uniyaker - Uni expeditions
Team Pyranha - My adventures

Mrstratos61
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:16 pm
Has thanked: 19 times
Been thanked: 20 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by Mrstratos61 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:02 pm

Blood and urine checks for antibodies would be 1st course of action. Then a week of antibiotics orally. Note it can appear to clear up only to recur. Phone and don't be fobbed off by receptionist.

User avatar
Adrian Cooper
Posts: 9720
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2002 2:26 pm
Location: Buckinghamshire
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 13 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by Adrian Cooper » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:43 pm

Whilst there is an effective testing service, the tests take long enough to provide the results that you can become seriously ill waiting for them. The antibiotic treatment would be needed more urgently than the test result.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/leptospira- ... t-services

I have no medical training and mostly 'barrack-room' knowledge

stonercanoe
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 4:26 pm
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by stonercanoe » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:17 pm

I have had 4 mates catch it. Me, I would go to GP, ask for tests, and ask for antibiotics straight away because the tests can take a while to come back positive.
One of my friends their GP knew nothing about the disease and my mate had to almost guide his GP through the process.
If you have it speed is important in terms of taking antibiotics. I know flu virus is not affected by antibiotics, but don't take a chance with having lepto.
Jason

gp.girl
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:54 pm
Location: Crawley Down, West Sussex
Has thanked: 15 times
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by gp.girl » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:47 pm

stonercanoe wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:17 pm
I have had 4 mates catch it. Me, I would go to GP, ask for tests, and ask for antibiotics straight away because the tests can take a while to come back positive.
One of my friends their GP knew nothing about the disease and my mate had to almost guide his GP through the process.
If you have it speed is important in terms of taking antibiotics. I know flu virus is not affected by antibiotics, but don't take a chance with having lepto.
Jason
3 people one mild, 2 in Intensive Care. One had a late diagnosis and was finally admitted with all their organs heading for failure. Although they made a total recovery the doctor in charge was amazed they lived. Not a fan of antibiotics but Weil's is dangerous. Doctor are a lot better than they were but politely insist if needed.
I can roll :)

TM.
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:21 pm
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by TM. » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:08 am

Thanks all. I've just started treatment for both leptospirosis and shingles since they don't have any idea what it is. My body is going to be a chemical warfare zone for the next week. You are right though - my GP had never heard of leptospirosis! Appreciate your answers all!

Mrstratos61
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:16 pm
Has thanked: 19 times
Been thanked: 20 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by Mrstratos61 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:54 pm

Glad your getting sorted.

DaveB
Posts: 315
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 9:21 pm
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by DaveB » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:49 pm

BC used to have an info sheet on lepto/weils which appears to be gone from their website. My club produced a condensed version as follows:
Weils Disease/ Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria which infect a variety of wild and domestic animals. The animals can then spread the bacteria to humans in their urine.
How can paddlers become infected?
Paddlers and other river users can become infected through exposure to water contaminated by infected urine. Infection can enter the body through cut or damaged skin, but may also pass across damaged or intact mucous membranes, and the eyes.

What are the symptoms?
Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, although some infected people appear healthy. Leptospirosis is an acute biphasic illness. In the first phase the Leptospires spread through the blood to many tissues, including the brain. Some cases may be asymptomatic in this phase or may present with onset of a flu-like illness, a severe headache, chills, muscle aches and vomiting. In some cases, an immune phase may return with a return of fever, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or a rash. In more severe cases there may be failure of some organs, e.g. the kidneys, or meningitis. Generally, cases will recover within two to six weeks but some may take up to three months.
Diagnosis.
As many of these symptoms are the same as for other diseases, diagnosis of Leptospirosis is based on clinical suspicion confirmed by laboratory testing of a blood sample
How soon after the exposure do symptoms occur?
Typically, symptoms develop seven to fourteen days after infection, though rarely the incubation period can be as short as two to three days or as long as thirty days.
How is Leptospirosis treated?
Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics which should be given early in the course of the disease.

Ways to avoid contracting Weil’s disease are very simple:
• Avoid capsize drill in stagnant or slow moving water, particularly where rat infestation is obvious.
• Wash or shower after canoeing.
• Cover minor cuts and scratches with waterproof plasters before getting in your boat.
• Wear trainers or wetsuit boots to avoid cutting your feet.


• If you have flu-like symptoms after canoeing go to your GP and tell him you are a canoeist.

User avatar
Adrian Cooper
Posts: 9720
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2002 2:26 pm
Location: Buckinghamshire
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 13 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:50 am

BC seem to have watered down any advice on Leptospirosis to a paragraph on their water-born diseases page. I think it used to look like this:

http://www.hjcc.org.uk/forms/weils_disease_poster.pdf

but a fuller explanation is on the NHS website

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leptospirosis/

My only concern with this advice is the use of the expression "These symptoms usually resolve within five to seven days" which doesn't seem to suggest that you would actually need treatment to achieve this. The treatment section is better and more dramatic!

User avatar
TechnoEngineer
Posts: 3351
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Berks, Hants, Essex
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:10 pm

I used to work with someone who came down with it after running around barefoot in Wales. After a few days he looked like he had the Flu from Hell, went to hospital, died whilst the doctors were scratching their heads. They revived him and luckily twigged it was Leptospirosis that had developed into full blown Weils and managed to recover him. He said the experience was weirder than any acid trip he'd ever had.

When I suspected I had it, I immediately took myself to A&E and was given Doxycycline as I'm allergic to Penicillin.
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / Kodiak / My Videos

User avatar
morsey
Posts: 6275
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 12:36 pm
Location: West Country :-)
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by morsey » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:54 pm

Adrenaline, straight through the breast plate.

User avatar
BASSBEAVER0
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 11:58 am
Location: Leicester

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by BASSBEAVER0 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:58 pm

There is a good hse mini booklet on leptospirosis. They can bought in packs of 20 if I remember correctly - ISBN No. 978 0 7176 6455 9. There is also a web version to view at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg84.pdf.

I also found my doctor was receptive, on visiting for a different reason, when I showed him the leaflet and asked him to make a note on my files that I was a keen kayaker, and in an"at risk" category. I did say that i appreciate it is a 'rare infection', but didn't mention I personally knew at least three people hospitalised by it. (All recovered thankfully)

DEANO
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:11 am

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by DEANO » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:43 pm

Hi , I've just spent a week in hospital with this . Firstly I hadn't paddled for 2 weeks so it lay dormant . I became ill on the Saturday with aching joints then got worse with terrible headache , shaking uncontrollably and temp up to 40.5 . Thought it was flu but got to Thursday and couldn't take any more went to gp . Was sent to a and e and was kept in for a week . First few days they were pretty stumped until a friend of mine rung hospital to say a friend of his had same problem which was leptospirosis . They took it seriously and gave me loads of tests on my heart and chest . When released had to go back daily for liver function tests . On the mend now slowly , but if anyone does have these symptoms be sure to tell gp that you paddle rivers . This was the worst I've ever felt in my life so if you think you have it seek medical advice asap

MikeVeal
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 10:40 am
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by MikeVeal » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:39 pm

I went to my GP for this. He needed prompting. I had to explain the flu symptoms & that I was at a high risk of contracting leptospirosis. I recounted my recent paddling history and as soon as the link to leptospirosis was understood (he hadn't considered kayakers as high risk), he prescribed antibiotics on the spot and took a blood sample.

To echo what the others have already said, the test takes too long to come back. If you suspect you have it go now, or don't live to regret it.
ANd telling your GP that you are a kayaker isn't enough, spell it out to them.

I never did go back for the test result, I couldn't see the point, I was on the last day of the antibiotics before the results were due.

mudlark
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:01 pm

Re: Leptospirosis

Post by mudlark » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:39 pm

It's hard to believe in this day and age that GP's don't know about leptospirosis/ Weil's disease.

As a paddler and caver I've been given various cards to carry to present to A&E or a GP over the years, but the bottom line has always been get to a doctor, explain the risk and ask for antibiotics as a precaution before test results can be returned.

I seem to have been lucky- on the two occasions I've been concerned enough to go to a doctor, the GP's prescribed antibiotics immediately.

Post Reply

Return to “Whitewater and Touring”