Trending News Today: Threat of Long-Term Health Risks Loom After Hurricane Harvey

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Hurricane Harvey may pose long-term health risks to residents of southeast Texas, according to a report by Bloomberg. Since the hurricane hit, at least 94 spills of sewage and wastewater have been reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Thousands of homes submerged in flood water may have been tainted with runoff, including benzene plume, which is found in processed crude oil and is a known carcinogen. Environmental Protection Agency officials are working to access and inspect 11 federal Superfund sites to determine whether any contaminants escaped, including benzene, cadmium, and trichloroethylene. Ecologist Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told Bloomberg that there have been no reports of benzene reaching the waterways, but initial disclosures do not detail specific chemicals. Wolf added that extensive water testing is still needed.

The Zika virus-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitos may be migrating to new ecological areas at a higher frequency, according to The New York Times. The popular disease-tracking website, ProMED mail, cited that the mosquitos are appearing in counties in California and Nevada, where it had never or only rarely been seen. Other reports revealed the species were found for the first time on certain South Pacific islands and parts of Europe. ProMED is overseen by the International Society for Infectious Diseases, according to the NY Times. Moderators send out alerts coming from members, news media, government releases, etc.

Recent findings suggest an extra dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine could help prevent mumps outbreaks, reported STAT News. The investigators analyzed data from a mumps outbreak at the University of Iowa in 2015-2016, and found individuals who received a third dose of the MMR vaccine cut the risk of contracting the mumps by 78%. Before the MMR vaccine in 1967, there were approximately 186,000 cases of mumps per year, according to STAT.