Poots in prayer plea after son contracts illness in rainforest
DUP MLA Edwin Poots has spoken of his shock after learning his son became seriously ill while working in south America.
Samuel Poots (26), contracted a fever earlier this week while doing missionary work in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.
Mr Poots revealed his son's illness in a Facebook post yesterday.
He explained that his son went to a doctor and was diagnosed with Leptospirosis, also known as Weil's disease, which is a bacterial infection spread by animals.
It is spread in the urine of rats, mice and cows and can contaminate soil and freshwater, where it is passed to humans.
Leptospirosis is rare in the UK and can prove fatal if left untreated.
The post read: "Samuel had been feeling unwell for a number of days and eventually he came out of the rainforest and went to see a doctor.
"He got the results of his blood test back yesterday and found out he had Leptospirosis."
Mr Poots continued: "It was really shocking to learn, especially for us as a family, as my uncle in fact died of the disease a number of years ago over here.
"He was working outside and contracted it from rat urine and it proved fatal."
He added: "So we as a family are familiar with how serious it can be and it's extremely worrying.
"We've asked all our friends to pray for Samuel to make a full recovery.
"Since they've diagnosed what it is and he is getting the right treatment, we are hopeful that he can make a full recovery."
The disease is caught if soil or freshwater (such as from a river, canal or lake) containing infected urine gets in your mouth, eyes or a cut - usually during activities like kayaking, outdoor swimming or fishing.
Or if you touch an infected animal's blood or flesh - usually from working with animals or animal parts
It's very rare to get Leptospirosis from pets, other people or bites.
Symptoms include a very high temperature, feeling hot and shivery and a headache.
People impacted might also be physically sick, have aching muscles and joints, red eyes and loss of appetite.