Mayo Clinic Health System infectious disease specialist says use caution with standing flood water

July 02, 2014

MANKATO, Minn. — The recent weather has produced intense rainfalls in our region. Subsequently, these rainfalls have resulted in many areas and basements playing host to standing flood water. Though most flood water eventually evaporates or is removed, these water accumulations can pose significant health risks.

“Standing flood water can be a breeding ground for mosquitos, which carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and encephalitis,” says Jessica Sheehy, infectious diseases physician assistant at Mayo Clinic Health System. “Flood water and standing pools may contain chemicals and sewage as well.”

Sheehy recommends avoiding standing flood water whenever possible. She offers this advice:

  • Don’t allow children to play in flood waters
  • Wash your hands if you’ve come into contact with flood water or objects that have touched flood water
  • Disinfect items that have touched flood water
  • Never expose an open wound to flood water — be sure to use a waterproof bandage at all times
  • Don’t eat foods that may have come into contact with flood water, even if they are packaged

To learn more about protecting yourself against the dangers of flood water, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website,


Mayo Clinic Health System consists of Mayo-owned clinics, hospitals and other health care facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 70 communities in Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest quality health care close to home.

Press Contact

Micah Dorfner
phone: 507-385-2691
fax: 507-385-2992