CDC warns on flood-related health issues

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jul 14, 2013 - Page 3

People affected by flooding caused by Typhoon Soulik should be aware of the potential food and environmental hygiene implications, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

People are advised to take protection measures during cleaning efforts after the floodwaters brought by Soulik have receded, the agency said.

After a typhoon, people can easily come in contact with polluted water and sludge, and could be exposed to diseases such as leptospirosis, melioidosis and tetanus, the disease control authority said, adding that protection measures should include wearing waterproof boots, gloves and masks and avoiding rusted or sharp items while cleaning.

As torrential rain can contaminate to drinking water reservoirs, which could cause gastrointestinal diseases, flooded water storage tanks should be completely emptied and sanitized before being used to store water again, the CDC said, adding that water from flooded reservoirs should be boiled before drinking; and cookware and tableware should be disinfected thoroughly before use.

People can also clean their homes with diluted chlorine-based bleaches, the agency said.

In addition, disease-vector mosquito density usually increases after heavy rain and flooding, the CDC said, adding that as the nation is in the middle of the transmission period of Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever, which are both mosquito-borne diseases, any containers holding standing water indoors or outside should be removed to prevent mosquito breeding.