Mum’s wild swimming warning after daughter, 11, hospitalised with life-threatening infection

Hannah Evans and her daughter Taysha, who contracted Credit: Bristol Live

A mother from South Gloucestershire has warned of the dangers of wild swimming after her daughter ended up in hospital with a life-threatening infection

Schoolgirl Taysha Evans contracted leptospirosis after swimming in the River Frome at Snuff Mills.

Also known as Weil's disease, the bacterial infection is usually carried by rats, and left her with grey lips, sickness, a fever and aches.

With many swimming pools and leisure centres closed because of coronavirus, more families than ever have started wild swimming.

Taysha had been swimming in the River Frome in Stapleton Park, which is popular with many families on a sunny day. 

The 11-year-old’s symptoms began a few days after she had been swimming, beginning with fatigue and fever.

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She then started being sick and her temperature rose from 40C to 42.5C within the space of 20 minutes, after which Hannah rang an ambulance. 

Taysha was then taken to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, where she stayed for three days.

Doctors think the bacteria entered her body through an insect bite on her leg. 

Taysha swimming in the river at Snuff Mills. Credit: Bristol Live

Now fully recovered, mum Hannah says she has "got her smile back" - but won’t be going wild swimming anytime soon.

She stressed that Taysha's friends - who were also in the water - were fine and healthy afterwards, and that she does not wish to panic anyone who has been swimming there.

Hannah said she has been swimming at Snuff Mills since she was little and so has Taysha, and they have never been ill before.

Taysha is now fully recovered. Credit: Bristol Live

However, she wants to raise awareness so that people can make informed choices about whether or not to go wild swimming.

According to Health Protection Agency statistics cited by ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), there are usually fewer than 40 cases of leptospirosis throughout England and Wales per year reported in humans.

More information about the symptoms and how to avoid infection is available on the charity's website.