Healthcare-associated infections and their prevention after extensive flooding

Anucha Apisarnthanarak, David K. Warren, Clovus Glen Mayhall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review will focus on the epidemiology of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) after extensive blackwater flooding as well as preventive measures. RECENT FINDINGS: There is evidence suggesting an increased incidence of HAIs and pseudo-outbreaks due to molds after extensive flooding in healthcare facilities. However, there is no strong evidence of an increased incidence of typical nosocomial infections (i.e., ventilator- associated pneumonia, healthcare-associated pneumonia, central line-associated bloodstream infection and catheter-associated urinary tract infections). The prevalence of multidrug-resistant organisms may decrease after extensive flooding, due to repeated and thorough environmental cleaning prior to re-opening hospitals. Contamination of hospital water sources by enteric Gram-negative bacteria (e.g., Aeromonas species), Legionella species and nontuberculous Mycobacterium species in flood-affected hospitals has been reported. Surveillance is an important initial step to detect potential outbreaks/pseudo-outbreaks of HAIs. Hospital preparedness policies before extensive flooding, particularly with environmental cleaning and mold remediation, are key to reducing the risk of flood-related HAIs. These policies are still lacking in most hospitals in countries that have experienced or are at risk for extensive flooding, which argues for nationwide policies to strengthen preparedness planning. SUMMARY: Additional studies are needed to evaluate the epidemiology of flood-related HAIs and the optimal surveillance and control methods following extensive flooding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in infectious diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • black water
  • cross infection
  • floods
  • hospital
  • infection control
  • infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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