CDC Emergency Partners - Stay Safe After a Disaster

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Emergency Partners Newsletter


October 26, 2017 


The information below can help those faced with recovering in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, IrmaMaria, and Nate.

Updated Key Messages

Cover for Key Messages dated October 20, 2017

Use these key messages, available in English and Spanish, to share important safety information with your readers, as well as your friends and family. Feel free to copy and paste the information, links, and images into your newsletters, emails, and social media posts.

These key messages were updated October 20, 2017. Updates are in bold blue font. This week's key messages include additional messages about:


Avoid Wound Infections

Applying adhesive bandage to a finger

Open wounds and rashes exposed to flood waters can become infected. To protect yourself and your family:

  • Avoid contact with flood waters if you have an open wound.
  • Keep open wounds as clean as possible by washing well with soap and clean water.
  • Cover clean, open wounds with a waterproof bandage to reduce chance of infection.
  • Seek immediate medical care if a wound develops redness, swelling, oozing, or if you have other signs of infection such as fever, increasing pain, shortness of breath, confusion, disorientation, or high heart rate.

Leptosprirosis Basics

Streets flooded with muddy water and street signs


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread by urine from infected animals, which can include many different types of animals such as rodents, dogs, livestock and wildlife. People can get leptospirosis when they have contact with soil or water containing urine from infected animals, or direct contact with urine from infected animals. Some activities that increase a person’s risk of getting sick include:

  • Drinking from untreated water sources that are contaminated (including floodwater, streams, rivers, contaminated tap water)
  • Bathing, wading, or swimming in contaminated water, especially when putting their head under water or when a person has an open wound or scratch.
  • Eating food that’s been exposed to contaminated water or has been eaten or potentially urinated on by rodents.

Symptoms can develop between 2 and 30 days but usually between 5 and 14 days after someone is exposed to the bacteria. In most cases, the illness involves flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, muscle aches, and headaches). Other symptoms may include: conjunctivitis (red eyes), vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), and skin rash. Anyone with symptoms of leptospirosis should see a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment with antibiotics may help prevent more severe illness and decrease the length of the illness.