Public Health England`s launched an investigation at an animal shelter in Irthlingborough after a volunteer contracted and died from a bacterial infection.
The voluntary worker from Nanna- which stands for Northamptonshire Animals In Need of Nurturing and Adoption- caught leptospirosis.
PHE is working closely with Northamptonshire County Council and East Northamptonshire Council to investigate the source of the infection and will take any necessary public health actions as required.
Dr Samia Latif, Consultant in Public Health said: “Leptospirosis is an infection caught through contact with urine from infected animals (mainly rodents, cattle and pigs) carried in water or soil. The bacteria enter the body through abrasions or cuts in the skin and through the lining of the nose, mouth and eyes.
“Early symptoms include flu-like symptoms, vomiting, high temperature, headache and muscle pains. The infection can be treated with antibiotics and most people will make a full recovery. However in some cases the infection is more severe and can cause life-threatening problems, including organ failure and internal bleeding.”
If you are in contact with fresh, surface waters eg canals, ponds or rivers, or with rats or soil that cattle or pigs have walked through then the simple precautions below can reduce your risk of contracting Leptospirosis.
* Cover cuts, scratches or sores with a waterproof plaster and thoroughly clean cuts or abrasions received during activities
* Wear appropriate protective clothing, gloves or protective footwear
* Wash or shower promptly after water sports, especially if you fall in
* Avoid capsize drill or rolling in stagnant or slow moving water
* Wear thick gloves when handling rats
* Wash hands after handling any animal, and before eating.