Monday 25 September 2017

'Mud run' and 'adventure race' enthusiasts warned of infectious disease outbreaks

Mud runners, like Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar, have been warned about the
danger of E. Coli and Weil’s disease
Mud runners, like Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar, have been warned about the danger of E. Coli and Weil’s disease
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Public health doctors are warning about a growing number of infectious disease outbreaks among competitors in "mud runs" and "adventure races".

The gruelling challenge, which involves participants dragging themselves through mud puddles and over obstacles, has led to many falling ill in these events internationally.

An infectious disease outbreak was also reported in Cork last year.

"There have also been anecdotal reports of other outbreaks in Ireland," said the report from the disease watchdog, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre of Ireland (HPSC).

However, the competitors are at risk of Ecoli and bacterial infections such as Weil's disease, which is spread by animals, as many of the runs take place on farmland.

There is also a danger competitors can swallow manure or urine through contaminated water during the runs.

"Small amounts of contaminated water or mud may not cause difficulty but some participants swallow enough germs to cause infection," the watchdog warns in new guidance.

Separately, a team of Irish scientists have made a breakthrough in the battle against infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The team discovered naturally-occurring antimicrobials, which kill many harmful bacteria, including those which have shown resistance to traditional antibiotics.

The scientists at APC Microbiome Institute, in Cork, are conducting tests on the proteins which, they believe, could offer doctors new treatment options in the battle against dangerous infections.

Prof Paul Ross of University College Cork (UCC) said the potential benefits for humans are exciting.

Irish Independent

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