Deadly Central America rains bring threat of disease

October 20, 2011

Health authorities warned Wednesday of virus outbreaks and food shortages throughout Central America as tolls rose from heavy rains that brought raging floods and landslides to the region.

The number of fatalities has climbed to 97 from the non-stop downpours that have continued into a 10th day, affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

With floodwaters that once raged now sitting stagnant, authorities across the region warned of potential epidemics such as dengue spread by mosquitoes, bacteria infections and influenza outbreaks as a cold front moves south.

Health officials in El Salvador reported worrying signs of respiratory diseases in people in shelters, as well as outbreaks of skin diseases and diarrhea attributed to bacteria in the floodwaters.

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