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Floodwater can cause infection, rash and illness, health officials warn

Floodwater can cause infection, rash and illness, health officials warn

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Mississippi River flooding in St. Charles County

Emily Kientzel empties the water out of her grandmother Joan FitzGerald's boot that filled with Mississippi River floodwater as they were checking on the home of a friend outside of Portage des Sioux on Sunday, June 2, 2019. The pair are standing on the second story balcony of the home that has more than a foot of water in it. Photo by David Carson,

Stay out of floodwater, warn St. Louis health officials. The city's health department will alert residents when waters recede to a level safe enough to begin cleanup efforts, including areas around River Des Peres.

“Floodwaters contain many things that may be harmful to health, said Dr. Echols, director of the City of St. Louis Department of Health. “Hazardous waste, other contaminants, snakes, rodents and debris that cannot be seen may be lurking in the water.”

Echols warned that exposure to contaminated floodwater can cause wound infections, skin rash, gastrointestinal illness and tetanus.

Highlights of flooding coverage during the spring and summer 2019

Even before the rivers started rising above flood levels during the spring of 2019, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters were covering impacts of flooding rivers in the St. Louis area.

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