Evacuee Health Threats

Sickness and disease among New Orleans evacuees are cause for concern with local health officials.

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With little food or clean water, evacuees from New Orleans are even more susceptible to the germs and chemicals they may have come in contact with. Dr. Cynthia Chappell with the U.T. School of Public Health says the biggest problem is contaminated water.

Most of the evacuees now in the Astrodome, and those headed there, have waded through that water. Many of them lacked clean drinking water and volunteers at the Dome will be looking for signs of infection or disease.

To compound the problem, the close quarters in the Superdome, on the buses and now here at the Astrodome could cause diseases to spread more quickly, especially among the elderly and children. Back in New Orleans, even after the water recedes, Chappell says the city will be covered in chemicals, biological waste and the rapid growth of mold.

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