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Pull on your gumboots, stay well

Pull on your gumboots, stay well.


Rural Women New Zealand reminds Far North families to be mindful about drinking water, pull on their gumboots, wash hands and faces thoroughly, and cover cuts and grazes before they come into contact with flood water to reduce the chance of getting infections, in particular leptospirosis.

The leptospirosis bacteria is shed in the urine from infected animals including stock, rodents, dogs, possums, and hedgehogs and is more easily spread about where there is excess surface water as the Far North is currently experiencing. It gets into the body through cuts and cracks in the skin and the eyes, nose and mouth. The bug also may enter through softened skin that has been in contact with water for a while.

The added difficulty is that animals that are infected may be without symptoms so it is safest to treat all surface water as infected with the bacteria. Animals can become ill too and a lepto vaccine is available for them.

Symptoms in people may be a minor flu like illness however in a more severe form symptoms may include severe headaches, high fever, nausea, jaundice and kidney damage and other debilitating symptoms.

If you are experiencing flu like symptoms please see your doctor immediately. Once detected there is effective treatment available.

Rural Women New Zealand has a long association with Leptospirosis research with Massey University. The latest research project was completed in June this year.

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