Untimely death of a rower due to Weils disease (See precautions to avoid disease)

Untimely death of a rower due to Weils disease (See precautions to avoid disease)

Andy Holmes (left) and Steve Redgrave (right) Andy Holmes (left) and Steven Redgrave (right) won gold medals at the Seoul Summer Olympics in 1988

Rowers are still reeling from the news of the death of Great Britain’s double Olympic champion rower Andy Holmes MBE.

Doctors suspect the 51-year-old athlete succumbed to an unusual, but severe form of an infection called Weil’s disease or leptospirosis.

It’s likely that Holmes, who had been involved in coaching over the past two years after returning to the sport, caught the disease from contact with dirty river water.

Leptospirosis is found all over the world, including in the UK, but generally is more of a problem in hot places, like the tropics.

How to avoid Weil’s


• Never drink water from a river or lake

• Only drink from your own water bottle

• Always shower after contact with the water

• Wash hands thoroughly and shower if necessary before eating or drinking

• Cover cuts and abrasions (including blisters) with waterproof dressings

• Wear suitable footwear when launching or retrieving a boat,

• Avoid immersion in, or contact with, water, particularly if there is an algal scum or bloom

• If contaminated water has been swallowed, consult a doctor

• Hose down all equipment after outings to remove any potential contamination

October 26th, 2010

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