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Weil's Disease PDF Print E-mail

Irish Water Safety and Friendly Systems - promoting water safety by combatting Weil's Disease


FSIWS has in the past issued advice through various media about the dangers of Weil's disease, which is an acute infectious disease spread by infected wild and domestic animals.  Because the bacteria thrived in wet and moist conditions, we were keen to produce an information leaflet for the many people working or enjoying recreation outdoors.  Now thanks to a joint initiative with Friendly Systems, we are delighted to launch this information leaflet, which will be distributed nationwide and will be available on request and online.



Weil's Disease also known as Leptospirosis is an acute, infectious disease.  It is caused by different types of one bacteria of which there are over 200 known strains.  Weil's Disease is spread in the urine of infected animals (wild and domestic) and in water or soil contaminated with infected urine.  The bacteria thrive in wet and moist conditions and can survive for months in stagnant water or wet soil.



The infection enters through broken, grazed or cut skin especially on the hands and feet and sometimes through the lining of the mouth, nose and eyes.  It can also be picked up while wading or swimming in infected water.



Symptoms may include fever, headaches, chills, severe muscle pain in the calves and thighs, vomiting, diarrhoea and bloodshot eyes.  Sometimes the fever may fluctuate and other symptoms such as a rash, jaundice, confusion, depression, kidney failure, liver failure and meningitis may occur.  The incubation period is usually 10 days but can range from 4 to 19 days.  If Symptoms persist please contact your G.P.



Effluent Treatment Plant Workers, Sewer Workers, Refuse collection and processing, Underground Cable Laying and Maintenance Workers, Miners, Farmers, Gardeners, Abattoir Workers, Animal Care Workers, People who use water for recreational purposes, Fishermen, Boating and Canoeing enthusiasts, Outdoor pursuits activities, i.e. Hill walking, camping, Scouting Associations, Rescue Services, Fire Services, Army and Garda Personnel.



Adhere to a rigid hygiene policy.  Cover all cuts, scratches and abrasions with a waterproof dressing. Wear protective clothing especially gloves when handling soil, vegetation, animal feeds, tools or equipment that may be contaminated.  Avoid touching mouth and nose. Food stuffs should not be consumed in the work area.



Spray all suspect work areas with VI RID.  On completion of work decontaminate all protective clothing, tools and equipment with a solution of VIRID.  Sanitise hands thoroughly with Healthy Hands before eating and on completion of work. 


For further information on Approved Products & Educational Seminars, contact:


  • For a copy of the Weils Disease brochure - click here.
  • For a copy of the Weils Disease Product Data Sheet - click here.



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