Lachlan passed away in January 2010.  As a memorial, this site remains as he left it.
Therefore the information on this site may not be current or accurate and should not be relied upon.
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Welcome to Lachlan Cranswick's Personal Homepage in Melbourne, Australia

Bridgewater Canal and things between Moore, Daresbury Laboratory and Runcorn

Lachlan's Homepage is at

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On Mud Fever / Leptospirosis / Weil's disease

(From: "The Story of Rats, Their impact on us, and our Impact on them" by S. Anthony Barnett; 2001, ISBN: 1 86508 519 7, Allen and Unwin) "N. G. Gratz, formerly of the World Health Organization, has published at list, certainly incomplete, of fifty-five infectious diseases derived directly or indirectly from rodents.


One is leptospirosis or Weil's disease. If the reader goes down with a baffling fever, headache and heavy sweats, the physician may suspect the condition sometimes called mud fever. And, if the reader has been working in a sewer, or in any other wet place infested with rats, that diagnosis becomes more probable. Leptospirosis is espeically recorded among farmers, fishermen, miners and workers in rice fields, dairies and abattoirs. During the war in Vietnam, in the 1960s and 70s, it was the leading cause of acute fever among American soldiers. Gratz holds this worldwide infection to be the most prevalent of rodent-borne diseases.

The organism of leptospirosis is a spirochet, which is a rather odd kind of bacterium. Spriochaets often live in the kidney tubles of mammals and emerge in their urine. Once excreted, they can survive for some time in mud or dirty water. From there they can enter the human skin, expeically if it is cut or abraded."


And on Page 62:

"We can now also see more clearly why rats have been called diabolically clever, and why today we say that they are nothing of the sort. This conclusion was foreseen in 1898 by an iconoclastic American psychologist, E.L. Thorndike (1874-1949). (I owe the quotation to Jeff Galef.)

Most of the books do not give us a psychology, but rather a eulogy of animals. They have all been about animal intelligence, never about animal stupidity . . . [They illustrate] the well-nigh universal tendency in human nature to find the marvelous wherever it can."

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