Harvey aftermath: 5 public health crises facing Houston

Leo Vartorella - Print  | 

Though Hurricane Harvey is no longer beating down on southeastern Texas, the public health threats facing Houston and surrounding areas are just beginning, according to The Hill.

Listed below are five public health crises Houston faces in the wake of Harvey.

1. Contaminated water still floods as much as 30 percent of Harris County, where Houston is located. In addition to human waste, chemical and energy plants have flooded and sent an untold number of dangerous pollutants into the water that engulfs much of the area.

2. Mosquitoes breed near standing water, and experts predict a boom in the mosquito population, along with the diseases they carry, after Harvey's flooding. "The impact on mosquito-borne illnesses could be around for another year," said Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Waco, Texas-based Baylor University.

3. Thousands of flooded homes means lost medication for thousands of residents, and supplying people with the medicines they need is a pressing concern, according to HHS Secretary Tom Price.

4. Mold is likely to grow in the once-flooded homes, causing anything from an allergic reactions to more serious medical conditions, such as asthma.

5. Crowded shelters housing more than 300,000 displaced people across Texas are breeding grounds for infectious diseases. Beyond physical illnesses, mental health problems stemming from the trauma of enduring a hurricane are likely to abound as well.

More Articles on Population Health:

Houston mayor imposes citywide curfew to ensure public safety 
Price declares public health emergency in wake of Hurricane Harvey 
Survey: What tools do patients want for chronic condition management?

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