What Is Weil’s Disease?

The recent death of Olympic rowing gold medal winner Andy Holmes has called attention to a rare condition called Weil’s Disease. So what is Weil’s disease and what are the symptoms and causes of Weil’s disease?

  • It is an infective disease also called Leptospirosis and sometimes the only signs could be mild flu like symptoms. In severe cases of the disease, there could be organ failure, internal bleeding and even death resulting from the infection.
  • The early flu like signs can spiral into jaundice, organ failure and heart inflammation if left untreated.
  • The infection can pass on to humans from rats, dogs and pigs.
  • Those involved in water sport may be particularly at risk since animal urine can contaminate water and pass on the infection.
  • The disease can be deadly and 10 million people are affected yearly by it. More men than women seem to contract it.
  • Another instance of death from Weil’s disease was thought to be caused by drinking beer contaminated with rat urine, as in the case of Colm Flynn, Irish rugby player.
  • The disease is more common in tropical and sub tropical climates. Cases are seen in counties such as Vietnam and Belize, as well as Australia, new Zealand and parts of Europe.