18 August 2017
Dad Catches Rare Disease After Showering in Rat Urine on Holiday
A father suffered kidney disease and sepsis after showering in lake water he believes was infected with rat urine on holiday.
Anthony Wright, 48, became ill with Weil’s disease – an infection caused by a cork screw shaped bacteria spread through animal urine - after cooking food and showering in water pumped directly from the lake while on a fishing trip in France.
Carpet fitter Anthony became ill when he returned home from the holiday, eventually being rushed into hospital
He was left ‘scared and embarrassed’ after being tested for HIV and AIDS while baffled doctors battled to establish the cause of the illness that he still hasn’t recovered from.
It was May last year when Anthony, who has two sons and two step sons, was on a fishing trip at Lac Du Menhir that it all began.
He said: “We were on a fishing holiday, staying in tents and using the facilities at a wood cabin on site for meals and showers. We didn’t realise there was no mains water and it was all being pumped from the lake into tanks. The owner said he had a filtration system but it wasn’t, it was just a chemical put into the water.
“There was a sign advising not to drink the tap water but we’d been cooking, washing our pots and showering in it.
“The place was alive with rats. When you got in your tents at night you could just hear them all running around.”
The weekend after he returned home, Anthony, 48, began to get flu-like symptoms.
He added: “I was playing a game of cricket and started feeling freezing cold even though it was 60 degrees. By Wednesday, I couldn’t walk. The doctor came out, she put it down to flu, but by the Friday night I was in hospital feeling really rough. I had sepsis and acute kidney disease.
“The doctor said if I’d waited another couple of days my kidneys would have been damaged beyond repair.”
After having his blood tested for all manner of conditions including HIV and Hepatitis, doctors diagnosed Mr Wright with Leptospirosis, which is also known as Weil’s Disease.
Rare in the UK with less than 40 cases reported in England and Wales every year, the infection can cause life-threatening problems such as organ failure and internal bleeding.
Anthony, who lives in Rye, East Sussex, said: “All my family thought I was going to die. I wouldn’t let my sons come to the hospital to see me, I only let my mum come because she thought I was going to die. She lives 80 miles away.
“I was off work for six months and, as I’m self-employed, I didn’t get a penny. I still have days off now with fatigue and doctors say I could be affected for years.
“I’ve never been off in 15 years, I’m just not the sort of person who has days off.
“When I was admitted to hospital the friend who I was away with texted the owner of the resort to tell him and he said he was sorry and would look into adding more chemicals to the water. That was all.”
Anthony’s wife Amanda says her husband tries to stay upbeat but she fears he will never recover from what happened.
She explained: “He really doesn’t understand the severity of it and tries to stay positive. But he still has mood swings and suffers with depression now. It’s affected us all as a family. At the time the two younger boys struggled because they couldn’t see him in hospital and even when he came home they asked me if they could go near him or would they hurt him.
“He was such a fit and well man, it was so hard to see. A very independent strong man reduced to someone struggling to hold his head up, I was having to put him on the toilet and lift his legs to get him into bed he was so weak. He looked like he had given up, he didn’t eat for days. It’s been tough for him not being able to provide for his sons.”
Amanda, who says she feels like she’s on a ‘depressive roundabout’ and ‘living in the unknown’ says the ordeal has affected him physically and mentally.
Despite everything, Anthony, who is taking legal action against the Lac Du Menhir resort, says it hasn’t put him off his hobby.
He said: “I’ve been fishing since I was five and even this isn’t going to put me off!”
Sarah Pople, a travel specialist at Slater and Gordon law firm which is representing Mr Wright said: “When people go on holiday, one of the most basic things they ask is for clean water to wash in. We believe Lac Du Menhir failed to provide this and, as a result, Mr Wright sustained potentially life threatening injuries.
“It’s crucial that holiday resorts ensure their facilities meet health and safety requirements.”
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