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Following the initial damage to property and infrastructure caused by storms, floods and cyclones, sickness and injury can still occur.
Water can become contaminated from the breakdown in amenities, such as power, sewerage and water supply. This can increase the risk of disease during clean up and recovery operations.
The main health risks in natural disaster areas include:
For more information, download the Queensland Health Factsheet - Stay safe and healthy after storms, floods and cyclones.
Melioidosis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei, a germ which is found in soil. The disease occurs mostly in tropical areas, including north Queensland, but it occasionally occurs in other places including southern parts of Queensland.
For more information, download the Queensland Health Factsheet - Melioidosis.
Mosquito-borne diseases after a storm, flood or cyclone
Receding flood waters and pooling water from heavy rainfall can provide perfect conditions for mosquito breeding. This can result in more mosquitoes, increasing the potential for outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases. The most common mosquito-borne diseases in Queensland are Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses. Dengue is much less common but occurs annually in North Queensland.
Mosquito-borne diseases are transmitted via bites by infected mosquitoes and cannot be transmitted directly from person-to-person. Different mosquitoes prefer to bite at different times of the day and night. It is important to be vigilant at all times and use the personal protection measures listed to prevent being bitten.
There are several measures that can be taken by the public to prevent mosquito-borne diseases from occurring. Personal protection measures can reduce the risk of you and your family getting bitten by mosquitoes:
Personal repellents containing DEET or picaridin are more effective than other repellents. Repellents containing less than 10 per cent DEET or picaridin are considered safe for children, however the use of topical repellents is not recommended for infants under three months of age. It is best to use physical barriers—such as nets on prams and cots—to protect infants less than three months of age. Young children should not apply repellents themselves. Repellents should be applied to the hands of a carer first, and then applied evenly to the child’s exposed skin.
The best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
For more information on how to prevent illnesses from mosquitoes and how to control mosquito breeding after floods, click here to visit the Queensland Health website, Mosquito-borne disease prevention or download the Mosquito-borne diseases after a storm, flood or cyclone brochure.