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DHS news release

Dec. 5, 2007

General contact: Bonnie Widerburg, 971-673-1282


Health officials advise people in flood areas do not need to seek extra vaccinations

en español


Public health officials say flood waters do not pose a significant communicable disease danger.


“We do not advise that people seek additional vaccinations because they are worried about contact with flood waters,” said Susan Allan, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., state public health director in the Oregon Department of Human Services. “Past experiences across the country show there have been no major disease outbreaks as a result of flood waters.”


Because flood water may contain debris, sewage, dirt, oil or other potentially hazardous materials, Allan advises:


  • Always wash hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected before preparing or eating food, after using the toilet and after handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage.


  • There is no need for additional vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, cholera, meningococcus or rabies.


  • A tetanus booster is recommended only if you have a serious wound.


  • Disaster responders should receive a Td or Tdap if it has been ten or more years since their last booster.  Hepatitis B is recommended for responders who will be performing direct patient care or may come into contact with bodily fluids.