A schoolgirl contracted a rare bacterial infection while fresh-water swimming.
Taysha Evans, 11, from Bristol, ended up in hospital with leptospirosis – or Weil’s disease – after swimming in the River Frome at Snuff Mills.
Her mother, Hannah, said “it was really scary” as her daughter “couldn’t walk properly”, was “really lethargic”, had a high temperature and was shaking.
Doctors think the bacteria entered her body via an insect bite on her leg.
Weil’s disease is a life-threatening bacterial infection which can cause organ failure and internal bleeding.
Started showing symptoms
It is spread through rat or animal fluids, and can enter the human body through small cuts in the skin or through the eyes, nose and mouth.
Ms Evans said within days of her daughter “swimming and splashing around” in the the lakes at Snuff Mills, she had started showing symptoms.
“She had a back pain that went down to her legs, so she couldn’t walk properly,” she said.
“The whites of her eyes were red, she was really lethargic and her temperature wouldn’t go down.
“I honestly thought she had really bad flu or something to do with the coronavirus.”
Despite “many calls” to the out-of-hours GP service and “two calls for an ambulance”, Ms Evans said it was only when she mentioned her daughter had been in the River Frome that doctors tested her for leptospirosis.
“I’m so thankful it was caught eventually,” she said. “And now I just want other parents to be aware.”
In the last three years the number of cases of infections have numbered in the 80s in England and Wales, according to Public Health England.
A PHE spokesman said: “Of the 38 reported cases in the last quarter of 2019, there was one case reported from the south-west of England.”