Immunization Recommendations During Floods
People commonly ask about the risk of tetanus and hepatitis during floods. According to Dickinson County Public Health Manager Mary Dunleavy, “Increases in cases of tetanus and hepatitis have not been associated with flooding. However, floods serve as a good reminder to check your immunization record. Tetanus and hepatitis immunizations are routinely recommended for children and adults.”
People are at risk for tetanus infection when they are injured and have wounds that are contaminated by the environment. Flooding is not shown to increase the risk for tetanus disease. However, cleaning up after a flood may increase your risk of getting a wound. Any time you are wounded, ask your healthcare provider if you need a tetanus-containing vaccine to protect you from disease.
• Adults should receive a booster dose of tetanus, diphtheria-containing vaccine every 10 years. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine is routinely recommended as it also protects against whooping cough, which causes illness every year in Iowa.
• Children need a basic series of four doses of vaccine between 2 and 18 months of age, as well as booster doses at 4 to 6 years and 11 to 12 years of age.
Hepatitis A / Hepatitis B
Hepatitis immunizations are recommended for some people based on behavioral, occupational, medical, and other risk factors. Hepatitis risk is not increased due to exposure to flood waters.
If interested in more information, contact your local family physician, call Dickinson County Public Health at 712-336-2682, contact the Iowa Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) Immunization Program at 800-831-6293, or visit the IDPH web site at www.idph.state.ia.us/ImmTB/Immunization.aspx.