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what is "lepto"?

Loveland, Colorado
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what is "lepto"?

So what is "lepto" and how much do we need to worry about it? We are bringing our 8 month old grandson to Hilo in late January and would like him to at least sit and play in the water at Richardson Beach or other places. What do we need to be aware of health-wise?

Island of Hawaii...
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1. Re: what is "lepto"?

hi, good question! And not just for your grandson, as healthy adults are just as much at risk as infants.

The best education tool I could find online is this "What is Leptospirosis" PDF issued by the Hawaii Dept. of Health. You can also search the CDC.

hawaii.gov/health/…leptobrochure.pdf

Leptospirosis is a freshwater problem, but is also found in mud. Leptospirosis is found in streams, and streams run into the whole Hilo Bay area during storms, but I don't know how long the bacteria can survive once the contaminated water mingles with salt water. Generally we warn people contemplating stream and waterfall pool swimming about lepto.

Rather than Richardson, I would suggest Onekahakaha in any case, as a nicer place for a toddler.

Now what you do need to worry about in salt water is staph. Staph just loves warm salt water, and we do have an increasing problem in Hawai`i. Add to that a shallow water environment where children are peeing in the water, which, lets' face it, is a reality ... and is not disinfected like a pool.

The key thing seems to be not to go in the water with any cuts, abrasions, bites that give bacteria a way into the system, also not jumping into water so as to force it up the nose, not swallowing it, and many savvy people like to disinfect their ears afterwards. But open wounds is the big no-no.

It's too bad we have to worry about such things, but we do.

Palm Springs...
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2. Re: what is "lepto"?

Lepto... can enter the body through your pores

your skin does not have to be cut or broken.

Avoid and fresh water/stream or where they..Wiapio ie extremely bad.

Loveland, Colorado
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3. Re: what is "lepto"?

yikes...going into the water at all is really sounding kind of sketchy! Don't people on the island get sick all the time?? That being said, we would like to give the bambino some kind of safe water experience while we are there weather permitting. Is there a community swimming pool or something like that we can go to? Our B&B has a pool and we will ask if we can bring him but I think it's for 13 and over only.

Lexington, South...
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4. Re: what is "lepto"?

Some local folks I know have claimed to build immunity to it. Whether that's true or not, I have no idea. But one resident of Waipi'o says she's been fine for years.

Island of Hawaii...
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5. Re: what is "lepto"?

you can take her to Onekahakaha ... the ocean water on Hilo side is colder than the west side, and he may start to shiver, but it's a nice place. Sheltered. Lots of kids there. Grab a flotation device from Walmart and he'll have a blast.

There aren't that many cases of lepto reported. Staph is increasing, but currently the Dept of Health doesn't track the number of cases.

Healthy people who don't have open wounds seem to be fine.

People who have wounds and ignore them are at risk.

People DO swim in the ocean here, all the time.

But don't take him in the hot ponds or freshwater streams.

Palm Springs...
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6. Re: what is "lepto"?

the risk exists on the east and south side where the rain leaches through all sorts of bio matter on its wau to the sea. when it reaches the sea it slowly dilutes..in the ocean and is alive and well toll the Ph changes to a different level.

On the west side, which has no streams entering the ocean this does not exist....except at the Queens Bath on the Kohala coast.

7. Re: what is "lepto"?

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