Some public health officials are warning consumers considering buying second-hand items to be wary of products that may have come from flood-stricken areas because they could be contaminated with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other potentially harmful germs.
KRGV News 5 Rio Grande Valley, Texas spoke with Hidalgo County Health Director Eddie Olivares who recommended that anyone buying something second-hand wipe it down with a bleach solution or other disinfectant before using it.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it’s an especially important piece of advice as flood-damaged cars, furniture, toys and other items turn up in flea markets, Craig’s List, Facebook Marketplace, and other retail venues and portals.
Mr. Olivares told KRGV that there have been no reported cases of MRSA in the Rio Grande Valley, but it remains a concern statewide.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MRSA is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. It can cause a variety of problems ranging from rare skin infections and sepsis to pneumonia to bloodstream infections.
The CDC warns that people with MRSA skin infections often think they have a spider bite. An infection may include a bump that is red, swollen, warm to the touch, and it could be accompanied by a fever.
Some shoppers told KRGV that they have seen people selling vehicles on Facebook with water damage from Hurricane Harvey, which inundated parts of Houston and surrounding areas with up to 60 inches of rain.
Floodwater is usually contaminated with a highly toxic mixture of germs from sewage and other sources and dangerous chemicals. There were at least two cases of flesh-eating bacteria in the Houston area after the flood, including one that resulted in death.