Web Zap*Germs Archive

December 16, 2005

Florida Adventure-racers Slog Through Swamp, Catch Rare Bug

Yeah, it looks exciting and exotic on TV, but adventure-racing through the wilderness can be hazardous to the health. After a race in November through a backwoods swamp in the Hillsborough County Wilderness Park near Tampa, Florida, 41 racers came down with suspected leptospirosis bacterial infections.

It's thought the racers, who were competing in the nationals for the US Adventure Racing Assn, picked up the infections while slogging through the swamp. Many of the athletes in the 24-hour, 100-mile race waded through water for hours after slicing their legs on palmettos. "If the general public saw the stuff they were running through, they'd run the other way," an official-park-person told the St. Petersburg Times.

After returning home from the event, participants began showing up in ERs complaining of fever, burning eyes and blurred vision, aches and fatigue. (I thought the last two were to be expected of adventure-racing....)


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