July 19, 1998
SPRINGFIELD, IL The Illinois Department of Public Health today released updated case numbers on an outbreak of leptospirosis among participants in the Springfield Ironhorse Triathlon held on June 21.
Sixteen suspected cases of the disease have now been reported by Illinois residents who competed in the triathlon and at least eight cases are suspected in other states.
Staff from the Department have called over 200 of the 362 Illinois athletes from all areas of the state who participated in the event to see if they are exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
"Approximately 15 percent of the participants we have talked to reported having symptoms of the disease," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director.
Dr. Lumpkin added that while the calling continues, the Department is asking the media to help inform participants in the Springfield Ironhorse Triathlon who have an illness with high fever to see a physician.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, headache, chills and sometimes a rash.
Symptoms may occur any time between two and 21 days after exposure.
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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