Author Topic: Blood tests at Hidden Earth  (Read 995 times)

Online Badlad

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Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« on: January 31, 2020, 04:54:13 pm »
Hi all - can anyone remember this?

Many years ago someone was going around obtaining blood samples from cavers at a Hidden Earth event.  It was part of a study and involved quite a lot of cavers if I remember correctly.  They were testing for ???? in the blood (was it leptospirosos).  Any idea who, when, where, what?  Were the results published anywhere?

Many thanks if you can share any recollections.

Offline Martin Laverty

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2020, 05:56:56 pm »
I think there were tests for histoplasmosis once, but another year I think someone from UBSS did some tests for Weil's disease:



Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2020, 06:00:46 pm »
Was it Charlie Self? He published some very good information about Leptospirosis in an edition of BCRA's Cave Science - however, I think that was several years before the blood tests at the conference.

MROdoc would probably know.

Online mikem

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« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 07:04:21 pm by mikem »

Online mikem

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2020, 11:19:59 pm »
Quote
A caver who returned to the United States following an expedition in Sarawak, Malaysia became ill with leptospirosis 10 days after his last cave trip, despite taking prophylaxis of 100 mg per day of doxycycline (Mortimer 2005). Caving in tropical regions is a high risk sport for a number of reasons: minimal protective clothing is worn owing to high humidity and the incidence of skin abrasions is high as a result of contact with rock (Mortimer 2005). Underground streams can drain areas inhabited by rats and bats that are known to be carriers of Leptospira (Matthias et al. 2005). Limestone in the Gunung Buda caves is likely to carbonate water percolating through it, giving rise to a high water pH, which is favourable to Leptospira survival (Mortimer 2005).
https://sfamjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2009.04220.x

Details of the above case from Mulu: https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032%2805%2970377-X/fulltext

(zenas links to above case in previous thread no longer work. The BEC digger had it from Priddy Green in mid 1990s.)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 11:54:34 pm by mikem »

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2020, 02:49:16 pm »
Hi all - can anyone remember this?

Many years ago someone was going around obtaining blood samples from cavers at a Hidden Earth event.  It was part of a study and involved quite a lot of cavers if I remember correctly.  They were testing for ???? in the blood (was it leptospirosos).  Any idea who, when, where, what?  Were the results published anywhere?

Many thanks if you can share any recollections.

I can remember this because Boyd and I both got tested in 1985 and he came back as a positive for Leptospirosis (Weil's Disease)!  He always reckoned it must have been due to caving in Stoke Lane Slocker when he was at College in Exeter and caving regularly with the Shepton in 1958-60.  He was never actually "ill" at the time and, as far as he knew had no symptoms at the time or afterwards. 

Incidentally, what he did suffer from at the time was "housemaid's knee", which took some explaining to the doctor at the College!

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2020, 03:03:28 pm »
Just remembered also that at one time there was concern in the Carleswark area of Stoney Middleton Dale because cavers who parked in the layby used to wash off in the stream which emerged from one of the culverts on the opposite side of the road to Carleswark just by the parking spot.  Someone noticed on one occasion that the culvert was alive with rats so DCA sent out a general warning about it.

We assumed that the rats came from around the canteen area of the working quarry further up the dale - waste food outside the canteen attracting them and the series of culverts through which the stream ran on its way down the dale providing them with shelter.  Now the quarry and canteen are long closed so not sure if the rats are still around.

I have a vague memory too that a local caver (whose name I can't remember) contracted Weil's Disease and was pretty ill with it and believed it might have been due to washing off in that stream.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2020, 05:02:49 pm »
My memory tells me that case of Weils was caught from Hawkenedge Well.

My own dose of Leptospira was caught diving; changing breathing mouthpieces allowed water to enter my mouth and the infection got in via mucous membranes. (The site in question was static and in a farmer's field where the nearby barn was full of rats; rainwash caused contaminated water to enter the sump, which I'd been regularly diving for 5 years without problem.)

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2020, 05:06:20 pm »
I meant to add that it's the most ill I've ever felt (by far) and when I started the antibiotics the side effects made me feel even worse for several days. The best policy is to avoid catching it in the first place, by following the simple guidance issued by BCA.

Online mikem

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2020, 08:28:51 pm »
There is of course, the less serious bovine leptospirosis, that Boyd may have had - not sure if the test they did would differentiate.

Offline Graigwen

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2020, 08:51:02 am »
It is always worth taking the possibility of having acquired Weil's disease seriously and not delaying medical treatment. My father in law delayed seeking medical assistance and died as a result of that delay - by the time he got treatment it was too late. 
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Online mikem

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Re: Blood tests at Hidden Earth
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2020, 09:08:42 am »
Would seem that Self's conclusions are just as relevant today:
Quote
Leptospirosis, known in its most severe form as Weil's Disease, is one of the few serious illnesses to which cavers are at risk. In 1985, a survey was made of 150 selected British cavers, to check for Leptospira antibodies in the blood. The sample featured some of the most active and experienced cavers in the country. In 22% of cases there was evidence suggestive of contact with the harmless Leptospira biflexa and in 9% with the parasitic Leptospira interrogans. We found no evidence of a regional bias for infection with Leptospira interrogans from any British caving region. Of the cavers with Leptospira interrogans antibodies, half had caught the parasite in the Gunong Mulu National Park (Sarawak). One had been diagnosed in the USA, while the remainder were mild or symptomless cases probably contracted in the British Isles.
& most of the Mulu cases were supposed to have been contracted around the camp, rather than in the caves.

 

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