Katrina: E. Coli Bacteria in New Orleans Flood Water

Adding to the misery caused by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans officials have discovered the deadly E. Coli bacteria in the water that covers the city.

Official: E. Coli bacteria detected in floodwater (CNN)

Floodwater in New Orleans is contaminated with E. coli bacteria, a city official told CNN Tuesday. The official in Mayor Ray Nagin’s office declined to be identified. E. coli comes from human and animal waste. The city’s sewage system has been out service as a result of the flooding.

Drinking water contaminated with E. coli can lead to serious illness and death if not properly treated.

The failures of the levee system after Hurricane Katrina’s onslaught left about 80 percent of the city flooded with water up to 20 feet deep — water that became a toxic mix of chemicals, garbage, human waste and human remains. Authorities have warned it will take weeks to drain the water covering much of the city.

This isn’t really surprising but does make the situation even worse.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. BInfo says:

    I am sure that the crybaby liberals like Boussard and Nagin will blame Bush for this. They only have themselves to blame for forcing people to stay in that liberal bastion during the storm. Now more suffering is being forced upon New Orleanians by the incompentent triumverate of Nagin, Boussard and Blanco.

  2. Charlie (Colorado) says:

    Adding to the misery caused by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans officials have discovered the deadly E. Coli bacteria in the water that covers the city.

    Well, duh. Escherichia coli is probably the most common bacterium in the gut. You got sewage, you got E. coli. (In fact, I believe the name itself refers to it being an organism identified by Escher in the colon.)

    Escherichia coli (E. coli)—A gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, nonspore-forming bacillus commonly found in the intestinal tracts of humans and other warm-blooded animals. In sanitary bacteriology, Escherichia coli is considered the primary indicator of recent fecal pollution.
    E coli

  3. JPSobel says:

    If E. Coli was NOT found in the water, I be stunned. Only certain strains of E. Coli in significant amounts are dangerous.

    Remember the dose makes the poison.

  4. Wow, there are people that are not wanting to leave NewOrleans but the National Guard and authorities are saying that they need to clean up rather than worrying about bringing in food and water to those who stay behind. I think that if people want to stay, they should be allowed, they are being warned about the diseases and bacteria in the water (water is contaminated by chemicals, garbage, human waste and rotting human/animal remains with E. coli bacteria that can be deadly, even the touch of it on non broken skin)…

  5. Becky(New Mexico) says:

    I’m sorry but apart from blaming people for what has happened, I believe we should be worrying about what we have in store for us as a country. It was said the E. Coli bacteria was detected in New Orleans. Now that being a serious bacteria or not, it is still life threatening. Has anyone stopped to think how bacteria spreads, and why we are pumping it back into the ocean? I am not blaming anyone for what has happened, but I am upset that we are not checking people for other bacterias as well. What will we do if there is another outbreak?

  6. Jill Taylor says:

    i think its bullshit that everyone else has to suffer because of this mess. we dont live there so why do we have to go through this mess to. people knew it was coming so they should of left new orleans. it is bad what happened but some people could of got out of there before they got sick or something.

  7. Chicken says:

    This is freaking bullsh!* Man o man i wish i died instead of being them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D:D:D:D