“the Bites of poisonous snakes”

After hurricane Katrina await epidemics, invasions of snakes and alligators

Official representatives of the United States Federal government, which hastily sent medical equipment and professionals affected by the hurricane “Katrina” areas on the Atlantic coast of the country, warned that the disaster may entail very adverse consequences for the health of the population over a long period, writes The New York Times.

According to officials, they are particularly concerned about the likelihood of outbreaks due to contamination of drinking water by sewage, and because spoiled food and possible transfer of dangerous diseases of animals, especially insects, and the bites of poisonous snakes.

A lot of people died in the hurricane. Some were drowned. Two people died from carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from the use of gas generators in areas with poor ventilation. Nine persons poisoned with carbon monoxide, ended up in the hospital, said Federal officials at a press conference in Atlanta – the city in which is located the Center of control and prevention of diseases.

Yesterday rescuers have been searching the wounded and needy in the area where the hurricane, in order to avoid new victims. In addition, rescuers brought the locals in helicopters, food and clean drinking water with the aim to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

“We have very little time” to find people in distress, to rescue those trapped in collapsed buildings, and deliver food and water, said at a press conference in Atlanta, Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Department of national security of the United States.

In New Orleans, at a local hospital, which was flooded by more than a meter, due to the flooding went down both generators. Began the evacuation of 200 patients, 30 of whom were in critical condition. Patients took 20 helicopters and then by ferry ferried to the hospital for children and women in Lafayette Louisiana and other clinics. In addition to patients from the hospital had to be evacuated 800 people – hospital employees and their families, patients ‘ families and other residents who took refuge from the hurricane in the building.

In the hospital is not out of order only to portable generators, and fuel cells that generated electricity is allowed to maintain only a small part of the medical equipment. One of the objectives was to provide in the dark of night lighting the landing pad, which is located on the roof of a Parking garage. As the elevators at the hospital was not working, staff had to carry non-ambulant patients on hand.

Karen Troyer-Caraway, a Vice President of this hospital, which was located in the workplace 20:20, said in a phone interview: “We’re sitting in the dark.”

The Minister of health and human services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced that his Department is working to create 1000 additional beds on the Atlantic coast of the United States.

From the national reserves in the region sends a medicines and remedies used in first aid: sterile gloves, bandages, blankets and portable oxygen tanks.

In addition, the Department of health sent to the region 38 doctors and nurses, 217 health workers ready to go soon.

Experts warn that the most difficult task will be the coordination of efforts of governmental and non-governmental organizations and health workers who may wish voluntarily to come to the region to assist the victims.

Energetic first aid to the victims, unfortunately, does not guarantee that the long-term consequences of this disaster will be averted.

Epidemiologist Thomas Sinks suggests that the effects of the hurricane will be felt for a very long time, Recalling that the affected area is in length 200 miles, four times the territory that suffered from hurricane Andrew in 1992.

There are fears that people could be injured from the shards of broken glass, downed wires and other items, said Dr. William Shaffner of Vanderbilt University University.

Other fear that people may be more likely than usual to suffer from the bites of poisonous snakes such as water moccasins, who is an excellent swimmer. As the threat can be alligators. And animals such as raccoons can be carriers of dangerous diseases, including rabies and leptospirosis (an infectious disease that can lead to meningitis and impaired kidney and liver).

Health workers also have to deal with the mental health problems of survivors of the hurricane.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, who directs the National center of preparation for disasters at Columbia’s medical school shares his concerns that people who suffer from diabetes, heart and other chronic diseases, may be deprived of medicines needed daily. In pharmacies on the territory affected by the hurricane, may not be sufficient quantity of essential medicines, such as insulin for diabetics, so you need to organize the delivery medicines to the affected areas. Moreover, the shortage of these medications may be felt within a few months, says Dr. Redlener.

It is expected that the most severe effects of the storm will bring the most poor residential areas.

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