Pathogenic Illness
Links to
Help Page
Corsica Guide
Ceremony of Commitment and Blessing
Canoeist's Pathogenic Illness Guide
Magazine Articles
Alternative River Guide
Edward Carpenter Archive
Contact Me
Canoeist Pathogenic Illness Guide

About the Canoeists Pathogenic Illness Guide

Executive Summary

Concise summary of entire document

Title Page

Full Title, Abstract and Acknowledgements

Chapter 1


Chapter 2

Waterborne Pathogens

Chapter 3.1

Epidemiological Research - Early Investigations

Chapter 3.2

Large Scale Sea Bathing Epidemiological Investigations

Chapter 3.3

Watersports Epidemiological Studies

Chapter 4

Water Treatment and Disinfection

Chapter 5

Legal Regulation

Chapter 6


Chapter 7

Conclusions and Recommendations


Listing of Academic Journals and Publications 

Appendix A

British Canoe Union Guidance on Leptospirosis - 1996

Appendix B

Not contained in Website

Appendix C

Holme Pierrepont Questionnaires (Neal 1966) - Not in Website

Appendix D

EC Bathing Water Directive Standards - Summary

Figure 1

Waste Water Flows - General Schematic 

Figure 2

Sewage Treatment Works - Genearal Schematic

Figure 3

Holme Pierrepont Indicator Organism Levels - Seasonal Variation

Figure 4

Pathogen Sources and Fates

About the Canoeists Pathogenic Illness Guide

In the mid 1990's there was concern amongst canoeists and surfers about the illnesses that could be developed from contact with sewage contaminated water. Many paddlers seemed to be fairly immune to the problem, but others complained of becoming quite ill. Consequently whilst some paddlers ignored the issue, some made complaints to the authorities, and others became politically active and formed "surfers against sewage".

In 1994 I was looking for a subject to research for my Master of Science qualification in Environmental Science. Studying these illnesses seemed the ideal topic. I spent two years researching what was known about the risks of infection, and I helped Dr Keith Neal with a risk assessment project at Holme Pierrepont (the UK National Watersports centre).

These website pages contain the full text of the resulting MSc dissertation. Whilst some parts of the website are a bit scientific, I hope that much of it should be readable by people who are not expert scientists. So please have a look if you are interested in the subject.

The first few chapters describe the current scientific knowledge (in 1996) about bathing and watersports illnesses around then world. These findings are then discussed in chapter 6, and in chapter 6.2 I try to show what sensible steps can be taken by any paddler to lessen the risk of illness.

I hope you find the information helpful

Simon Dawson

Return to top of page (and Main Index)