UPDATED 9:45 A.M.: Caution to Swimmers in Eufaula or Seminole - Leeches!
Posted by: Eddie Ingram
Date: Jun 26 2017 9:07 AM
This past Saturday my son and I fished a small bass tournament on Lake Seminole. Every bass we caught had a mouth-full of small leeches. Nothing I haven’t seen before, just more of them. At the end of the day when we took our fish out of the live-well, every bass we released was completely covered with dozens of tiny leeches. Ugly, but not that bad as long as they were on the fish and not on us.
This morning I received a phone call from a friend of mine who is camping with his family up on Lake Eufaula. He said everything was good except for the leeches! He said that everyone of his family members, including grandchildren, had several leeches on them after being in the water for only a short period of time. He said he spoke to several other campers/swimmers at the campground and they to had experienced a problem with the leeches getting on them when they entered the water.
I am no marine biologist, nor do I know anything about leeches; I just know I don’t want the ugly little critters on me nor my family. They attach themselves ’everywhere’ on a person they can reach (and I mean everywhere).
Do your own research and find out what you can about leeches if you plan to swim in any freshwater anytime soon. Be sure to check your ’entire body’ and your children as soon as they come out of the water.
We are waiting on a return call from a Freshwater Biologist in Auburn, AL at this time and will update this article with the information he provides us.
UPDATED: 9:45 A.M. We spoke with a Marine Biologist who informed us that the increased number of leeches in our waterways is due to the unusually warm winter we experienced in the South. He said that the leeches are more abundant in all southern lakes and rivers this year because of the warm water.
He said that leeches do carry bacteria and the reaction a person has to a leech bite depends on that particular person and how long the leech is attached. He said the main health risk from a leech is if they enter an oral cavity of the body and cause an infection. But other than that, leeches pose no real health hazard to humans.
Further, he said there is no need to panic if a leech gets on you but it is extremely important to remove them as soon and as safely as possible to reduce your risk. He said there are a number of web-sites available that can tell you how to safely remove a leech from your body and he strongly suggested that everyone entering the water familiarize themselves with removal techniques to avoid skin damage and infection.