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Floodwaters breed hidden health dangers

Image: Houses and businesses are surrounded by floodwaters in the town of Louisiana, Mo. Standing water like this is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and dangerous bacteria.

West Nile, E. coli among deadly concerns in swamped Midwest

Now that the waters are beginning to recede after this month’s devastating floods in the Midwest, state and federal officials are warning of a widespread secondary risk from dangerous bacteria and disease-bearing mosquitoes. They expect this season’s mosquito population to be especially big, nurtured by hot summer temperatures and large pools of standing water that make an ideal breeding ground. “We know we have mosquitoes right now in the state that are testing positive for the West Nile virus.” Stagnant water carries numerous other risks, health officials said. For any number of dangerous bacteria and parasites, hot, fetid pools left over by swamped septic systems are the perfect home. The raging waters also seeped into countless wells, affecting drinking water for thousands of homes and businesses across the region.

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