Danger in the Water: High Levels of Unsafe Bacteria Found in Harvey Floodwaters

Playing Murky Texas Flood Water Has 125 Times More Bacteria Than Safe Swimming Levels

The swirling brown floodwaters left by Hurricane Harvey contain some very nasty health dangers, experts warn.

A microbiologist from Texas A&M University tested the water and found high levels of E.coli and coliform, bacteria associated with human and animal waste.

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The floodwaters, Dr. Terry Gentry told Good Morning America, contain 125 percent more bacteria than what is considered safe for swimming.

Pathogens hiding in stagnant water can carry mosquito-borne viruses such as Zika, Legionnaires’ disease and bacterial infections, medical authorities said.

The moving water picked up everything in its path, including fertilizer, toxic chemicals and raw sewage from flooded systems.

Though it’s sometimes impossible to avoid the dirty water, public health officials told residents to stay away, especially if they have an open sore or cut.

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Such abrasions greatly increase the risk of developing a debilitating infection.

“Flood water mixes with everything below it,” Dr. Richard Bradley, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, told Time.

"The chance of getting a skin infection is really quite serious." 

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