Sailor feared losing toe after dangling foot in River Thames at Weybridge

Tap above to watch video report by Simon Harris

A Surrey sailor feared losing his toe after getting a horrific infection from dangling his feet in the River Thames.

Nick Steven ended up in hospital for two weeks after his toe turned black, developed and huge blister, filled with pus and caused his leg to swell up.

Nick contracted cellulitis, a serious condition which develops quickly and can spread through the body.

"When we got to the hospital I was in a lot of pain and my friend got a wheelchair for me," Nick told ITV News London. "It was a big, horrible blister full of pus. It was quite scary. It was when the toe went black that I got worried for a few days as it took some time to get under control. "Cellulitis started spreading up the leg and at the hospital a microbiologist came to see me," he added.

Nick was given some powerful antibiotics as he wondered whether or not he would end up losing his toe.

He feared the infection may have been caused by sewage while out with Weybridge Sailing Club on March 17th.

Thames Water said sewage had been discharged into the Thames on March 8th.

Nick said staff at the hospital could not prove pollution was the cause of his infection, but he thought it was "quite likely". He added: "It was very scary from the point of maybe losing my toe. "Once that had passed I wasn't to scared but I was sill in a lot of pain and I was in hospital for three days in A&E and in hospital for eleven days. "There was a huge blister and when it was taken away it didn't look so bad. "There was still a worry it could still have got into the flesh, but the ultrasound showed it was just in the skin area. If it had gone into the flesh I may have had sepsis."

Thames Water said discharges of diluted sewage were only one of the "many sources of pollutants in rivers."

A statement added: "Animal faeces from livestock and wildlife, along with run off from farms and roads, also contribute to the hazards found in rivers. 

"We are the first company to provide storm overflow alerts for inland waters and this ‘near real-time’ data is available to customers as a map on our website.

"Taking action to improve the health of rivers is a key focus for us and we want to make discharges of diluted sewage unnecessary as quickly as possible.

"We’ve committed to invest £1.6billion in our sewage treatment works and sewers over the next two years and have recently published our plans to upgrade over 250 of our sites."

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