Navigation Links
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita Left Skin Rashes in Their Wake

CDC researchers detail dermatologic conditions of workers rebuilding New Orleans

TUESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Workers helping to rebuild New Orleans after hurricanes Katrina and Rita suffered from several different skin disorders, and new research suggests that many of the rashes were caused by some kind of insect bite.

"Dermatologic conditions have always been really common, but a systematic investigation had not really been done in the past," said study author Rebecca Noe, a staff epidemiologist with the National Center for Preparedness, Detection and Control of Infectious Disease at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "When I did a literature search, I typically saw people saying 'rashes.' It was really general."

The study was published in the November issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

After the devastation of Katrina and Rita in August and September 2005, scientists had a chance to delve deeper.

Twenty-two percent of diseases treated in the aftermath of the twin disasters were skin-related.

At the end of September 2005, members of the CDC were asked by New Orleans hospital officials to assist investigating an outbreak of skin diseases among construction workers.

A group of men repairing roofs on a military base had rashes so severe they couldn't continue working.

The CDC investigators looked at biopsies and examined the living situations of 136 workers who were staying in 11 screened-in wooden huts on the military base. The workers had limited sanitation facilities (the main shower trailer was out of order).

Fifty-eight of the workers, or 42.6 percent, reported rashes. Of these, 70.7 percent were examined, and 27 (65.9 percent) were found to have papular urticaria, basically a reaction to insect bites.

Eight (19.5 percent) had bacterial folliculitis, an infection causing inflammation around the hair follicles. Six (14.6 percent) were found to have fiberglass dermatitis, irritation and inflammation resulting from contact with fiberglass. Two (4.9 percent) had brachioradial photodermatitis, a reaction to sunlight.

Men who were sleeping in previously flooded huts were 20 times more likely to have developed papular urticaria and four times more likely to have a self-reported rash.

Native American workers were more likely to develop papular urticaria and fiberglass dermatitis.

The investigators never found the creature(s) responsible for the outbreaks, but they suspect that a mite infestation of the huts was responsible.

"Some sort of bug was in the hut," Noe said.

Whenever flooding or another disturbance to the ecosystem occurs, rodents and birds are displaced and mites are left looking for other hosts -- humans included.

The findings were consistent with what on-the-scene specialists saw. Dr. Richard A. Keller, a Mohs' surgeon at Ochsner Health System, returned to work the Saturday after Hurricane Katrina and was the only, or one of the only, dermatologists in the city for two or three weeks.

He saw several cases of skin infections that rumors circulating at the time attributed to some strange, Louisiana-specific disease. Instead, the problems were similar to what the CDC found: papular eruptions, poison ivy and photoallergic eruptions.

"We reassured everyone that this wasn't some odd disease," Keller said. "The big thing we did was dispel the rumors."

The CDC recommended that the men living on the military base be relocated to other sleeping quarters, get improved laundry and shower services, and use insect repellant.

"Lay people need to make sure, if they're going into their home that has been flooded, to wear repellant and, if you can, long-sleeved clothing," Noe added.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has health information related to hurricanes.

SOURCES: Rebecca Noe, staff epidemiologist, National Center for Preparedness, Detection and Control of Infectious Disease, Atlanta; Richard A. Keller, M.D., Mohs' surgeon, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans; November 2007, Archives of Dermatology

Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. One-fourth of HIV patients believe their doctors stigmatize them
2. Father and Daughter From Tanzania Receive Their First Medical Examination in Newport Beach
3. Teens need to see their doctors more often
4. Can brain-injured, partially-blind stroke patients regain some of their lost vision?
5. Scientists explain how insulin secreting cells maintain their glucose sensitivity
6. When Should Children Wash Their Hands?
7. UCLA/RAND study shows that many children of HIV-positive parents are not in their custody
8. National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Members Take Their Case to Capitol Hill
9. Nurses describe dedication, frustration associated with their jobs
10. Hazards of using crib bumper pads outweigh their benefits
11. Their immune cells, fighting your cancer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita Left Skin Rashes in Their Wake
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... ... unique analog distortion effect tool designed specially for Final Cut Pro X. ... limiltess looks with the easy-to-use modification controls. Destoying and creating chaotic distortion is ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... , ... Trying to relax on a couch can actually be uncomfortable, so ... design due to personal experience with a bad back," he said. , This easy-to-use, ... well as increases support. It also makes it easier to eat, do other activities ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an ... the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring ... injuries. The article explains that part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the toilets were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch diseases ... cover so that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He developed ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... of progress through sharing, the 2016 Building Better Radiology Marketing Programs ... will begin on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... addition of the  "2016 Future Horizons ... Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier ... Emerging Opportunities"  report to their offering.  ... announced the addition of the  "2016 ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ... Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application ... Forecast to 2020" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced the ... the United States (U.S.) Food and ... to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen believes this submission ... FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA submission using the ... M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: