The water quality in Cardiff Bay can vary from excellent to poor. In all open freshwater in the UK there is a risk of catching various infections and diseases, and in particular for those persons who suffer from reduced immunological response.
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Types of infections that are common include minor gastro-intestinal complaints, eye, ear and throat infections, typhoid, dysentery, and infectious hepatitis A.
The risk is greatly increased by ingestion of the water.
It is for this reason that swimming, for example, is presently prohibited in the Bay. However other immersion sports such as water skiing and windsurfing are permitted only when authorised by the Harbour Authority. A list of prohibited water based activities can be obtained from the Harbour Authority.
Whilst immunisation can reduce the risk of contracting certain diseases, there are others for which there is no vaccine protection available e.g. Weil’s disease (leptospirosis). Weil’s disease is rare and the risk of contracting the disease is very low but it can cause serious, even fatal, illness.
What should I do?
If you feel off colour following contact with open water, then see your doctor immediately.
What can be done to reduce the risks?
The risk of contracting serious illness is low but by taking sensible precautions, the risk of infection can be further reduced. You should cover cuts with a water proof dressing; wear footwear to protect feet from cuts; avoid ingestion of water and avoid unnecessary immersion, especially of the head. If you have been in contact with the Bay water, wash or shower afterwards using soap and freshwater especially before eating and drinking.
To find out more information on all potential water-borne illnesses please visit the following website www.nhs.uk