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Weather events might trigger the overflow of pathogens in cities

Even if you don't visit a hospital or come into direct contact with someone who's sick, you can still be affected by, and potentially get sick from, antibiotic resistant bacteria.

For example, in Philadelphia, as with many older cities, most of the sewer pipes are "combined", where household pipes and pipes from street inlets both go to the same sets of pipes, and then, in dry weather, those pipes lead the waste and water to a wastewater treatment plant, for treatment and then discharge.

However, in heavy rain events, these systems are designed to discharge into surface waters - thereby also flooding areas on either side of downstream waterways. And then, after those floodwaters recede, they leave materials behind - including pathogens, many of which are quite likely antibiotic resistant, given that individuals who are prescribed antibiotics are using those sewer systems, just like everyone else is.

And so, if you are in an area that's recently been flooded, and your walking your dog, or pick something up off the ground, or otherwise come in contact, directly or indirectly, with the area that had been flooded, you'll want to wash your hands thoroughly, especially before eating.

Read the article Looking for sewage on the waterfront in Penn Current, December 18, 2015