Hidden Hazards

Hurricanes have an impact on health long after they're gone

It's easy to see the physical destruction that Hurricane Isaac left behind: Eight deaths and at least 13,000 damaged homes in Louisiana. But what about the health consequences that linger years after the waters recede? Because storm-related flooding can take weeks to subside, victims may be exposed to disease-carrying microbes that thrive in the hurricane's damp aftermath and may also experience the emotional trauma of seeing their homes and neighborhoods submerged. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 provided a look at the health challenges Isaac's victims can expect. Even then, say experts, most survivors, with the help of medical and psychological support, were...

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