Federal health officials say contaminated floodwaters, resulting in bacterial infections, are responsible for the deaths of four people in New Orleans this week and the worst may be yet to come, reports The Washington Times.
The director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Stephen L. Johnson, confirmed on Wednesday that the amount of E. coli and coliform found in the water is at least 10 times the EPA’s recommended levels. Elevated levels of lead are also a concern, Johnson said.
But it was the germ Vibrio vulnificus which caused the four deaths, health officials say. Vibrio vulnificus, a deadly waterborne bacterial infection, is found in the Gulf Coast waters and usually is spread by eating contaminated food. But the germ can also penetrate open wounds, says a spokesperson from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is believed that the victims became infected while moving through contaminated waters.
[ via Infection Control Monitor ]
The FDA has a Media & Community Outreach Kit available about Vibrio vulnificus if this is a concern in your community.