With the weather as it is recently some areas are getting hit pretty hard with flooding. However we have to bear in mind that sewage and animal waste mixed in the water are leaving flood victims exposed to a cocktail of potentially dangerous bugs.
E.coli and salmonella are common bacteria that can be found in flood water as a result of contamination with farmyard waste, said Dr Ben Neuman from Reading University.
Meanwhile, human sewage could spread the winter vomiting bug norovirus or hepatitis A. If ingested, they can cause fever, stomach pain and diarrhoea. ‘It is more dirty than dangerous, if you take the right precautions,’ said Dr Neuman. Food or drink that has touched flood water must not be consumed.
Last week, Dr Neuman tested water in the village of Moorland. Somerset. He found the water was carrying much higher levels of bacteria than normal.
‘We found lots of things like E.coli and other bacteria,’ he said. ‘It was a high bacterial count – 100,000 E.coli per 100ml. With our drinking water, we would expect less than one E.coli per 100ml.
‘It’s the equivalent of taking a couple of teaspoons of horse manure and dissolving them in one of those office water-coolers.’
This makes it all the more important to wash your hands in situations like this and the results are clear. Only last week a young boy died and 15 people were taken to hospital as a result of flood water contamination, see the article here