PBC health experts warn of water dangers

LOXAHATCHEE, FL (WFLX) - Palm Beach County health officials say there are dangers that could be lurking right outside your door.

With many in western Palm Beach County still surrounded with stagnant flood waters five full days after Tropical Storm Isaac dumped an overwhelming amount of rain in the region, health officials are warning residents about mosquitoes, mold and other water dangers.

The Director of the Palm Beach County Health Department says the number one concern right now is stagnant water.

She said much of it could be full of sewage, the carcasses of deceased animals -- and of course, mosquitoes.

At this point, area hospitals and emergency rooms aren't seeing any evidence of disease or outbreaks of any kind.

The key is prevention, avoiding contact with these flood waters and using soap and clean water if you do. "Take these messages and try to do prevention because it's a lot easier to prevent something than to treat it after you get sick," said Dr. Alina Alonso of the Palm Beach County Health Department.

Health officials also recommend residents use bleach to get rig of any mold inside their homes and using insect repellent with DEET.

The county is beginning aerial spraying to combat mosquitoes at dusk Friday night. "With this much water, you're going to have a lot of mosquitoes, let's face it," said Ed Bradford of the Palm Beach County Mosquito Control. "It's going to be a continuous hatch-off. It's not going to be one big hatch as a result of this, so we have to let them hatch off and we'll try to time our air sprays as to reduce their numbers."

And aside from mosquitoes, residents in the acreage are dealing with the stench of dead and decomposing fish -- and birds.

Health officials say stay clear of this kind of thing as well.

And as for the smell, officials say there's not much to be done right now.

The advice from experts: Stand downwind.

Residents with questions or concerns can still call the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center Hotline at 1-561-712-6400.

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