Date issued: 28 October 2022
Issued by: Associate Professor Suman Majumdar, Acting Chief Health Officer
Issued to: Health professionals
- Widespread flooding may increase the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, water- and food-borne diseases, and uncommon conditions such as leptospirosis, carbon monoxide poisoning or illness relating to mould exposure.
- Consider flood-related diseases in patients who live or have spent time in flood affected areas.
- Clinical presentations of these conditions may be non-specific. Clinicians should exercise a high index of suspicion for flood-related diseases to ensure correct diagnosis and management.
- Clinicians should consider the many pathogens that can be responsible for flood-related gastrointestinal illness (e.g. hepatitis A virus, E. coli, Cryptosporidium) or wound infections (e.g. staphylococcal and streptococcal infections, Aeromonas and tetanus).
- Food, medicine and other items containing flood water are considered contaminated and should be discarded.
- In patients presenting with respiratory symptoms, consider exacerbations of pre-existing illness (e.g. asthma), COVID-19 infection and mould exposure.
- Individuals impacted by floods may present with mental distress, suicidal ideation, substance use or involvement in interpersonal violence. Be alert to signs and triggers, and consider referral to appropriate support services and resources. Psychological first aid resources are available here.
- Be alert to recognise the signs and triggers of domestic violence and direct patients to appropriate support services.
- Read the full advisory: Health advice for flood related illness and injury