Memphis and Shelby County Health Department Cautions Residents Regarding Flood-Related Risks | Environment
Good information released late this afternoon from the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – As a result of the flood that has affected parts of Shelby County, Memphis and Shelby County Health Department officials caution residents regarding several flood-related health precautions.
Practice Good Hygiene
The Health Department advises residents to continue practicing good hygiene. This includes frequent hand washing after contact with flood water since there is a risk of spreading disease by eating or drinking anything contaminated by flood water.
Waterborne Illness Concerns
While communicable disease outbreaks are rare after flooding, some potential does exist for waterborne disease transmission; therefore, the Health Department is closely surveying flood-affected communities. However, practicing good hygiene is key to preventing infectious diseases that flood waters may spread.
While there does not appear to be any enhanced risk for tetanus to individuals that have been in or around flood water, tetanus shots are needed if an individual has deep cuts, skin punctures and wounds and it has been more than five years since the last tetanus booster was given. Tetanus shots are normally administered every 10 years. Concerned residents can contact their primary medical provider to receive the vaccine or any Health Department clinic. For those residents in Millington, individuals can visit the Millington Public Health Clinic located at 8225 Hwy 51 from 8 -11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, first priority will be given only to City of Millington employees who present identification and are actively responding to the flood crisis in Millington.
The drinking water in Shelby County has not been compromised. There is no need to boil public drinking water in Millington.
Even though the storm has passed, the Health Department cautions residents that rising flood waters are dangerous and can be deadly. Cars and other vehicles do not provide any protection and can be swept away or may break down. Additionally, residents are encouraged to not drive around closed roads signs or barricades.
- Due to possible contamination, do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
- Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is a chance that food has come into contact with flood water.
- For residents who have gardens that have flooded, do not harvest this produce since flood waters – that may contain microorganisms, chemicals and other contaminants – can make food unsafe.
- Inspect canned foods and discard food in damaged cans that may show swelling, leakage, etc.
- For canned items that are salvageable, remove the labels and thoroughly wash the cans and rinse the top of the cans with clean water.
Mosquito Assessment in Millington
In order to help control mosquitoes due to the flood waters, the Health Department’s Vector Control program is actively conducting an environmental assessment and service operations have been activated including response to service requests, mosquito surveillance, source reduction, larviciding and adulticiding.
The number of pest mosquitoes has been low this spring. Larviciding crews completed treating more than 20 different locations last week. One larviciding crew is assigned to treat all water containing mosquito larvae. While remnants of that larval population are expected to emerge this week, the numbers of mosquitoes are expected to remain low. Mosquitoes resulting from rain this weekend are expected to become adults next weekend. Adulticiding will be recommended based upon results obtained through surveillance.
Mosquitoes will be collected and tested this week for both the West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis virus, but disease is not expected to be problematic at this time of year. Weekly surveillance will continue until the end of October. An inspector has been assigned to handle all requests from Millington. Nuisance mosquitoes are monitored daily at two locations. Disease vectors are monitored once a week at three locations.
Once flood waters recede, home inspections will be initiated to all accessible residences. As a precaution, citizens are encouraged to:
- Wear DEET-containing mosquito repellants according to label directions (recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Wear light-weight, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Empty, clean and refill birdbaths and small wading pools.
- Repair failed septic systems.
- Repair leaky outside faucets.
- Clean rain gutters and downspouts.
(Photo credit: My 5)