Public health dangers loom in Harvey-hit areas


HOUSTON (AP) – The muddy floodwaters now soaking via dry wall, carpeting, mattresses and furnishings in Houston will pose an enormous cleanup problem with potential public well being penalties.

It isn’t recognized but what sorts or how a lot sewage, chemical compounds and waterborne germs are combined within the water. For now, well being officers are extra involved about drownings, carbon monoxide poisoning from turbines and hygiene at shelters. Within the months and years to return, their worries will flip to the consequences of trauma from Hurricane Harvey on psychological well being.

At a shelter arrange inside Houston’s George R. Brown Conference Middle, Dr. David Persse is constructing a clinic of docs and nurses and making an attempt to stop the unfold of viruses or having to ship individuals to hospitals already stretched skinny.

“That is quickly evolving,” stated Persse, Houston Director of Emergency Medical Providers. “I all the time fear in these giant congregations of individuals about viral outbreaks that trigger nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. And we’re simply getting began.”

Medics have been on the conference middle because it began taking in evacuees, together with police and different first responders. During the last 24 hours, docs and nurses arrived on the conference middle to volunteer.

Fewer than 20 individuals have been hospitalized so removed from the conference middle.

“One in every of our objectives is to appropriately deal with individuals right here with minor issues so we do not ship everyone off to the hospital,” Persse.

Most of the round three,000 individuals who fled from Harvey’s flooding waited hours in water combined with sewage, oil and gasoline. Some weren’t capable of seize their drugs or medical units. Cops on Monday afternoon have been in search of extra wheelchairs.

Donors have introduced diapers, child formulation and different primary requirements to the conference middle. Officers are working with native pharmacies to exchange misplaced medicines and dialysis clinics to serve sufferers in want of remedy. The Purple Cross is arranging to usher in moveable showers. A cargo of fifty wheelchairs was on the best way Monday afternoon.

The U.S. Environmental Safety Company will start sampling the floodwaters as quickly as attainable, stated EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman in an e mail Monday. EPA groups may even be visiting water and sewage crops to supply assist, she stated.

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