North Carolina man dies of bacterial infection from Florence floodwaters

An 85-year-old man in North Carolina died Sept. 25 after contracting a rare bacterial infection from Hurricane Florence floodwaters, according to WECT.

Ron Phelps, a citizen of Wilmington, N.C., scraped his leg while working in his yard after the storm. The scrape later became infected, prompting a medical amputation.

North Carolina recorded 37 deaths related to Hurricane Florence, most of which were attributed to vehicles caught in floodwaters, while some were cleanup-related, according to a Sept. 27 statement from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's office.

David Howard, deputy director of public health in New Hanover County, told CNN "some bacterial infections from cuts and scrapes" have occurred among those doing cleanup work after the hurricane. "It really comes down to bacterial infections that are common in the environment that end up in floodwaters that people are not normally exposed to in a great quantity," he said.

Populations with weakened immune systems, like the elderly, are at high risk for bacterial infections, Mr. Howard told CNN. The health department has administered tetanus vaccinations to protect those involved in cleanup efforts and warned people to avoid the floodwater when possible.

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