As Mississippians begin to recover from recent flooding, new fears over potential health risks are cropping up.
As many begin to clean and rebuild, health officials are warning Mississippians to use caution.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, floodwaters and their remnants can be havens for water-borne diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis.
But pests like mosquitoes can also be a problem. The recent spread of Zika in Central America and the constant threat of the West Nile Virus have some worried flooding will cause an explosion of mosquito-borne illnesses.
But those particular threats may be overblown.
“Mosquito problems can be quite intense, but there’s not much of a disease threat associated with them,” says Mississippi State Entomologist Jerome Goddard. “The types of mosquitoes that breed in floodwaters from storms or heavy rains or whatever like that are not usually involved in disease transmission.”
However, the coming swarm of mosquitoes may pose other threats.
There’s secondary infection from mosquito biting,” says Goddard. Some people have allergic-type reactions from the biting. Then there’s always this nuisance effect. If you’re being bitten 300 times a minute when you’re outside, it affects your health. If nothing else it affects your mental health.”
Goddard says flood-borne mosquitoes may take up to two weeks to hatch, and may last up to four to six weeks.