Recent flooding in Shelby County, Indiana led to Shelby County Health Department Sanitarian Bob Lewis warning residents of possible severe health risks. Many homes in low lying areas in the county were affected by the flood waters resulting from heavy rains over the weekend of December 21st. Lewis mentioned multiple reasons for health concerns in a December 26, 2013 online article in The Shelbyville News.
Lewis warned that wading in flood waters can expose people to bacteria such as tetanus, among others. Bare skin exposed to flood waters increases the risk.
He also called out the possibility of contamination from septic systems. "Septic systems are inundated, there could be farm waste (in the floodwaters)," Lewis said. "If it gets into the home, you've got to clean it up with water and bleach."
Lewis also said that water wells should be tested at least once a year. Older wells without proper capping should be chlorinated.
Homes that have been inundated with flood waters face the risk of mold growth. Lewis emphasized that waterlogged carpet and padding must be dried out within 48 hours to prevent mold growth or be replaced.
The article also contains tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on the proper procedures and precautions for cleaning techniques after a flood.