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According to the EPA, sanitary sewer overflows contain raw sewage and can carry numerous health hazards including bacteria, viruses, protozoa and helminths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also noted that floodwaters may have moved hazardous chemical containers which can carry solvents and other industrial chemicals. In addition, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) points out floodwater can also carry intestinal bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and Shigella; hepatitis A virus; and forms of typhoid, paratyphoid and tetanus.
The symptoms of these illnesses may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches and fever. Dallas County Health and Human Services encourages residents to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms of waterborne illness.
When natural bodies of water come in contact with contaminated floodwater, those resources should not be used for recreational activities. Dallas County Health and Human Services recommends Dallas County residents refrain from all activities near flooded areas because of the health and safety concerns of the water.