Page 6 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 6

legal matters
The risks of Weil’s disease
  The risk of Weil’s disease is linked to areas where rats are or have been present. Work is considered a higher risk where there is evidence of rat infestation. This is most likely to be during refurbishment or demolition work. Other potential situations include work linked to canals, rivers or sewers.
The Weil’s disease form of leptospirosis is contracted from the urine of infected rats. The bacteria get into your body through cuts and scratches or through the lining of the mouth, throat and
eyes after contact with infected urine
or contaminated water. It is a rare condition in the UK. The disease starts with flu-like symptoms such as a headache or muscle pains. More severe cases can lead to meningitis, kidney failure and other serious conditions. In rare cases the disease can be fatal.
You're more at risk if you do lots of outdoor activities (especially while abroad) or work with animals or animal parts.
• Washyourhandswithsoapand water after handling animals or animal products
• Cleananywoundsassoonas possible
• Coveranycutsandgrazeswith waterproof plasters
• Wearprotectiveclothingifyou'reat risk through your job
• Showerassoonaspossibleifyou've been in potentially infected water
• Checkyourdogisvaccinatedagainst leptospirosis (there isn't a vaccine for people)
• Weil'sdiseaseisaformofabacterial infection also known as Leptospirosis that is carried by animals, most commonly in rats and cattle.
• Itcanbecaughtbyhumansthrough contact with rat or cattle urine, most commonly occurring through contaminated fresh water. Although human infection in the UK is minimal, it is still worth taking some preventative measures to decrease the possibility of contracting it.
• AccordingtotheHealthProtection Agency, there are usually less than 40 cases of leptospirosis throughout
England and Wales per year reported in humans. In 2006 there were
44 laboratory confirmed cases of leptospirosis in England and Wales. It is more common in countries where the climate is more tropical or subtropical. Reported cases for 2005 in Australia were 141, and France 212. This is worth being aware of if illness occurs after travel.
Infection of humans usually occurs where open wounds are immersed in relatively stagnant water, contaminated with rat or cattle urine. It can be contracted from contact with any fresh or untreated water including ponds, canals, lakes and rivers, as well as flood waters that are contaminated:
• Thosemostatriskofinfectionare open water swimmers who expose their whole body to possible infection
• Activitiesthatoccurinornearfresh water such as fishing, water skiing, sailing and kayaking also present a risk
• Activitiesthatcancauseopen wounds or that take place near the water's edge where rat urine is more likely to be found increase the risk of contracting the disease
• People,whohavepreviouslyhad leptospirosis, develop immunity to the particular strain that they were infected with and others closely related for up to ten years. They are not immune to other strains and may become infected again if continuing in activities where it is a risk
• Itdoesnotusuallyresultfrom swallowing water or rat bites
• Thebacteriaareunabletosurvive in salt water, so there is no risk of infection of Weil's disease from swimming in the sea.
The risk of contracting the disease varies according to the size of the local rat population, which unfortunately is very hard to assess and one reason why this should be contained on an allotment site. NAS offer courses in Rodent Control and please contact Head Office for further details.
Liz Bunting, Legal and Operations Manager
  In case of emergency
Do you know the postcode for your allotment site? Ambulance crews called out to emergencies are likely to use postcodes to get them to the casualty, especially if your site is not marked on a local map. If you have suffered a suspected stroke or heart attack then timing is crucial and the more information that someone can give the dispatcher the sooner you will
get assistance. Acquainting yourself with the postcode for the street from which the allotment gate opens could be a life saver.
  Introducing Lisa Fox
Hello ALG readers, my name is Lisa and I joined the team here at the National Allotment Society in mid-August as the Office Administrator. I wanted to introduce myself, touch on my experience, and briefly explain my role.
I studied Business and
I left Corby to join the Royal Navy in 2006 as a
Writer, also known as a clerk. My role in the military was dealing with all administrative queries such as pay, travel, cash, and joiners/ leavers of each unit I was based at. I thoroughly enjoyed this for 13 years, being promoted to both Leading Hand and Petty Officer in my career. I had the pleasure of being a part of both HMS Illustrious and HMS Liverpool’s ships company.
I also did a tour in Afghanistan, and the Falkland Islands as a PA to the Chief of Staff. Most recently before I left, I was based in Bardufoss, Norway, for Cold Weather Survival Training.
I applied for this job because, although it’s a small team here at Head Office, it’s still nice to be part of a growing organisation that has thousands of members and a lot of volunteers who are very knowledgeable and passionate about the allotment world.
In terms of what I actually do for the NAS, my main role is being the first point of contact for all day to day enquiries and supporting head office with general administrative duties.
 6 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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