Press release

Flooding – health advice on floodwater

Public Health England (PHE) is providing health information and advice to local partners in areas affected by flooding on an ongoing basis.

Flooded road

Media reports today have highlighted levels of bacteria present in sampled floodwater.

In response, Debbie Stark, Consultant with Public Health England’s Devon, Cornwall and Somerset Centre, said:

It is unsurprising that samples of flood water have demonstrated the presence of bacteria normally found outside. This should not be compared to bathing or drinking water. Tap water is unaffected.

Advice has been given regularly to local people about minimising any health risk. This includes avoiding contact with flood water, washing hands and food preparation surfaces and not eating food that has touched flood water. All our experience from previous floods tells us that where people follow health advice there are no significantly increased rates of gastro-enteric illness.

For more information, see the joint PHE / Environment Agency advice

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Public Health England

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Published 1 February 2014