Healthcare-Associated Infections and Their Prevention After Extensive Flooding

Anucha Apisarnthanarak; David K. Warren; Clovus Glen Mayhall


Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2013;26(4):359-365. 

In This Article


There is some evidence to suggest an increase in the incidence of several HAIs, particularly those due to Legionella spp., nontuberculous Mycobacterium spp. and fungi following extensive flooding that has damaged and/or contaminated healthcare equipment and infrastructure. However, there is no clear evidence to support the increase in more typical HAIs, such as ventilator-associated pneumonia, healthcare-associated pneumonia, central line-associated bloodstream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. The prevalence of MDROs may actually decrease after extensive floods due to repeated and thorough environmental cleaning prior to re-opening hospitals. Hospital infection prevention measures, including surveillance for key pathogens, prompt investigation after case detection, and thorough environmental cleaning, play a key role in reducing the risk of HAIs following extensive floods. All groups within an individual hospital from infection control staff to hospital administration need to work together, to create and implement effective flood preparedness plans that can mitigate risks to patient and staff safety and structural damage. Additional studies are needed to understand the types of HAIs, the surveillance methods needed to identify HAIs, and the most effective preventive measures for HAIs following extensive floods.