Maui News

Leptospirosis Concerns prompt Precautions in Storm Cleanup, Maui Brown Water Advisory issued

January 13, 2011, 11:33 AM HST
* Updated January 29, 2:39 AM
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Posted by Wendy Osher

Maui Brown Water Advisory issued 1/13/11. Click to enlarge. Image courtesy Google Maps, State of Hawai.

Health officials are urging the public to wear rubber gloves and boots during storm cleanup to avoid exposure to bacteria and potential diseases like Leptospirosis.  The rare, but serious bacterial infection can be found in fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine.

Health officials say there is a good chance that water from the recent storm could be carrying such risks because of the abundant wildlife in the mountains and the amount of water and mud that washed into surrounding residential neighborhoods.

Leptospirosis can enter the body through breaks in the skin and through mucous membranes.  Initial symptoms can be flu-like including fever, headache and muscle aches.  The public is urged to see a doctor immediately if they experience symptoms.

The state issued a Brown Water Advisory for the entire island of Maui today because of the heavy rains associated with the ongoing storm.  The public is advised to stay out of flood waters and storm water runoff due to possible overflowing cesspools and sewer manholes.  There also could be risks associated with pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals, and associated flood debris.

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