“Clinicians assessing patients currently in or recently returned from hurricane-affected areas should be vigilant in looking for certain infectious diseases, including leptospirosis, dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and vibriosis,” the CDC stated stated in a recent health advisory notice.
“CDC is aware of media reports and anecdotal accounts of various infectious diseases in hurricane-affected areas, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” the CDC stated. “Because of compromised drinking water and decreased access to safe water, food, and shelter, the conditions for outbreaks of infectious diseases exist.”
The contamination of water supplies and the exposure to dirty flood water are concerns in disaster settings.
“Additionally, vector-borne diseases can occur due to increased mosquito breeding in standing water,” the CDC warned. “Both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are at risk for outbreaks of dengue, Zika, and chikungunya.”
The period of increased risk could run through March 2018 if the current pace of restoration efforts continues, the CDC noted.
“Providers in healthcare facilities that have experienced water damage or contaminated water systems should be aware of the potential for increased risk of infections in those facilities due to invasive fungi, nontuberculous Mycobacterium species, Legionella species, and other gram-negative bacteria associated with water (e.g., Pseudomonas), especially among critically ill or immunocompromised patients,” the CDC emphasized.
- CDC. Advice for Providers Treating Patients in or Recently Returned from Hurricane-Affected Areas, Including Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. Oct. 24, 2017. Available at: http://bit.ly/2jcrF3T. Accessed Nov. 13, 2017.