Epidemiologists sound alarm on floods impact to public health

Sep 9, 2023

Epidemiologists sound alarm on severe impact of the floods to public health and warn of several diseases, such as typhus, gastroenteritis, malaria and West Nile Virus, that would break out in the flooded areas due to a large number of drown animals and flood waters to have infiltrated the sewage system before they flooded homes.

Warned are residents in the flooded areas in Magnesia, Thessaly and Fthiotida.

Epidemiology professor Theodora Psaltopoulou sounded alarm about the effects of storm Daniel on public health. “The effects of the floods can be direct or indirect, short-term and long-term,” she told state broadcaster ERT.

The professor of epidemiology also referred to the trapped people who, after two almost 24 hours, are likely to face serious problems.

“The short-term effects are related to the inability of people to have drinking water, food, electricity, heating, a refrigerator, the inability to move them to primary and secondary health care in case they have an issue, and the collapse of the water table.”

Regarding the possible risks to public health, he estimated that the residents of the flooded areas in Magnesia, Thessaly, Fthiotida may face problems due to malaria, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory and dermatological problems.

“They need a bigger intervention” noted the professor of epidemiology, pointing out that they should immediately ensure safe water and food.

Speaking about water quality, she emphasized that there should be control of the water supply and water chlorination. “These events combined with the killed animals create a short-term major public health problem in the region,” he said.

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She added that according to the World Health Organization, there must be plenty of standardized packaged water and food in the area.

Speaking to Alpha TV, Anargyros Mariolis of the Athens University referred to the possible dangers and advised the residents of the areas hit by the bad weather to drink bottled water.

“The water is polluted. It can cause acute diarrhea syndrome, cause acute hepatitis mainly type A in vulnerable age groups and type E in pregnant women. We may have leptospirosis and this may become endemic, especially after floods because rodents increase. We don’t turn on the tap for drinking water,” Mariolis stressed..”

“We will also have a huge problem with the increase of mosquitoes, an example is the West Nile virus,” he said warning of infections of the gastrointestinal track, respiratory infections, wounds contamination and skin diseases.

He pointed out that the residents should expect “the disinfection of the water mainly through chlorination and the restoration of the water supply network. To check the boreholes in the area first, so that we can have a better treatment at the facilities.”

September 9, 2023

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