Toxic Flood Water Is Latest Danger Caused by Ida's Record Torrent Across Northeast

Yvette Mayo
Yvette Mayo

Water rushed in through Ivette Mayo’s basement sewage valves. Two days after going through the soaked belongings, including priceless photographs, she started feeling ill.

During last week’s historic storm, Ivette Mayo’s home in Queens, New York, was inundated with four feet of water. Now there are fears that the home, along with so many others, are contaminated with dangerous bacteria.

Water rushed in through Mayo’s basement sewage valves. She says she frantically waded through the murky flood water to salvage family photos and priceless belongings. 

“It was a desperate and such a slow process pulling these photos out of the albums,” Mayo said.

She strung them on a clothesline to dry inside her home. But two days later, she started feeling extremely ill. She went to the hospital and was diagnosed with e.coli and norovirus.

Mayo says she knows exactly how she got sick while cleaning.

“I didn’t wear gloves, and intermittently I cried and wiped my face,” Mayo said.

Dr. Roshini Raj says it’s very dangerous to walk around in dirty water.

“You can get a whole host of infections from contaminated flood water. So you can get a serious skin infection or you can get a gastrointestinal infection, something like e.coli, for example, that could end up putting you in the hospital or even killing you,” Raj said.

Raj recommends that when around flood water, cover your skin by wearing boots and gloves and always wash with antibacterial soap.

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