The Praeger handbook of environmental health. Volume 2: agents of disease. Friis RH, ed., Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2012 Jan; 2:85-102
On August 29 and September 24, 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, respectively, made landfall along the Gulf Coast. After both storms, levees were breached, leading to massive flooding in New Orleans and surrounding parishes. The duration of flooding, the extent of flooding, and the number of structures flooded in New Orleans as a result of these hurricanes made massive mold contamination a certainty, Many Structures remained flooded for weeks after the hurricane and became saturated with water. An assessment of homes in New Orleans (Orleans Parish) and the surrounding parishes of St. Bernard, East Jefferson, and West Jefferson (excluding the 9th Ward) identified an estimated 46 percent (>100,000 homes) with some mold contamination; approximately 17 percent (40,000 homes) had heavy mold contamination. 1 Recent parallels to the kind of flooding observed in New Orleans as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita occurred in 1997 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and in 1999 in North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd. The number of structures affected was much smaller in North Dakota than in New Orleans, and the population affected in North Carolina was much more dispersed than that affected in New Orleans. In North Carolina a reported increase in persons presenting with asthma symptoms was postulated to be caused by exposure to mold. In 2001 flooding and subsequent mold growth on the Turtle Mountain reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota, was associated with self-reports of rhinitis, rash, headaches, and asthma exacerbation.