Web Zap*Germs Archive

September 06, 2005

E. coli, Toxic Chemicals Biggest Post-Katrina Threats - For Now

A worker watches the water flow out of a 30 inch pipe that pumps out 27,000 gallons of water per minute in a New Orleans suburb Tuesday
UPDATE 07 Sep 2005: The CDC announced today that five people who had been evacuated from New Orleans have died of infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus, "a germ common in warm Gulf Coast waters that's usually spread by eating contaminated food but that can penetrate open wounds, too." [I've written in the past about Vibrio bacteria causing "flesh-eating" wounds in Texas fishermen.]

CDC has also recommended updating vaccinations for evacuees and rescue workers -- see this detailed list of recommended vaccinations for children, adults and rescue workers.

Public health officials say that, so far, there are no widespread outbreaks of sickness following Katrina-caused flooding in New Orleans, though E. coli bacterial infections have been reported.

One news report mentioned funguses, blisters and rashes afflicting police officers who've been wading for days through the filthy floodwaters.

Health pros are more concerned at this time, it appears, with the effects of toxic chemicals released into the waters -- which may account for the blisters and rashes.


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