July 18, 1998
OUTBREAK OF LEPTOSPIROSIS
SPRINGFIELD, IL The Illinois Department of Public Health is urging participants in the Springfield Ironhorse Triathlon held on June 21 who have an illness with high fever to see a physician.
The Department is investigating an outbreak of leptospirosis in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other state and local health departments.
Eleven suspected cases of the disease have now been reported by Illinois residents who competed in the triathlon and another eight cases are suspected in other states.
Staff from the Department and the Springfield Department of Public Health are attempting to contact 362 Illinois athletes from all areas of the state who participated in the event to see if they are exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
"We are undertaking an aggressive effort to call participants of this event. However there will be some people we will be unable to reach," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "It is our hope that individuals with symptoms will get the message through the media and get prompt medical care."
Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, headache, chills and sometimes a rash. Symptoms may occur any time between two and 21 days after exposure. People without symptoms need not seek medical care.
Early diagnosis and treatment of leptospirosis can lead to a full recovery. If left untreated, the disease can cause kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and respiratory disease.
Persons can get the disease by swimming or wading in fresh unchlorinated water contaminated with animal urine. The organism can enter through mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth or through breaks in the skin such as cuts or scrapes. Generally, this disease is not spread from person to person.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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