Date issued: 28 December 2022
Issued by: Dr Angie Bone, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Environment)
Issued to: Health professionals and the public
- Stagnant water and warmer weather may increase the risk of mosquito-borne diseases. After a flood, water and food-borne diseases, and uncommon conditions such as leptospirosis, carbon monoxide poisoning or illness relating to mould exposure, may also occur.
- Consider flood-related diseases in patients who 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 at the vic.gov.au website.
- Be alert to recognise the signs and triggers of domestic violence and direct patients to appropriate support services.
- Read the full advisory.