Houston Matters

One Month Later, Harvey-Related Health Concerns Still Remain

Harris County officials have confirmed the death of a 77-year-old Kingwood woman was caused by flesh-eating bacteria she contracted after Tropical Storm Harvey. We learn what health hazards related to the storm still remain in Greater Houston, one month after the floods.

Debris is piled outside a Houston-area home in Harvey’s aftermath.

Harris County medical officials have confirmed a Kingwood woman’s death is tied to bacteria linked to Harvey floodwaters.

Autopsy results confirm that 77-year-old Nancy Reed suffered necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating bacteria. County officials say Reed came in contact with the bacteria after falling in her home after the storm and cutting her arm, which became infected. Her case is the 36th official Harvey-related death in Harris County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 700 to 1,100 cases of the flesh-eating virus in the United States each year.

While it’s a rare case stemming from the storm, officials say other health concerns still remain — even a month after the storm. What are they?

To find out, Houston Matters talks with a pair of public health experts to find out. Dr. Peter Hotez is the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and Dr. Umair Shah is the executive director of Harris County Public Health.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the Senior Producer for Houston Matters. He has a degree in journalism from Abilene Christian University and has served as news director for NPR and PBS stations around Texas and The West, including: KUNR-FM in Reno, Nev.; KNPB-TV in Reno, Nev.; and KWBU-TV/FM in Waco, Texas. He...

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