ANGLERS have been warned about an added danger from sewage when rivers reopen on June 16.
Covid-19 risks for anglers grew when some scientists reported how they believe that the coronavirus could live in untreated sewage in rivers.
Professor Richard Quilliam of Stirling University, in Scotland, is currently leading a £1.85million study into the transport of bacteria and viruses in marine environments.
He has published his concerns about the Covid-19 risks in the journal Environment International.
It presented the example of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002-2003, which was detected in sewage discharged by two hospitals in China.
Richard said: “We know that Covid-19 is spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes, or via objects or materials that carry infection.
“However, it has recently been confirmed that the virus can also be found in human faeces up to 33 days after a patient has been tested negative for the respiratory symptoms of Covid-19.
“It is not yet known whether the virus can be transmitted via the faecal-oral route, but we know that viral shedding from the digestive system can last longer than shedding from the respiratory tract.
“Therefore, this could be an important pathway for increased exposure.”
Former barbel record holder and environmental campaigner Ray Walton believes that the Covid-19 risks are real.
And with angling booming currently, there are sure to be more anglers on the rivers than usual this summer.
Ray said: “It is not yet proven that coronavirus isn’t waterborne.
“Its potential presence in raw sewage, which is still legally discharged into our rivers, means that all our waterways are possibly dangerous for any fishing.
“This shouldn’t be covered up at all, and anglers need to be aware of the risks,” added Ray.
River campaign charity Windrush Against Sewage Pollution also says that anglers should be wary.
A spokesperson warned: “The transmission risk of Covid-19 from sewage is not yet understood.
“There is no evidence of it happening so far, but it is known to be present in some form in water, and the studies are still underway.
“In the meantime, we don’t see the need to take unnecessary chances with public health.
“This crisis has vividly demonstrated the advantage of staying ahead of the risk curve.”
The impact on the human body of Covid-19 was highlighted in the battle for survival told to Angler’s Mail by leading carp expert Jim Rawcliffe.
The Angling Trust has been prominent in the Covid-19 health crisis. Here is the the Trust’s latest at-a-glance list of freshwater angling guidelines…
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