Spread of heartworms another Katrina after-effect

By Tracy Dewhirst, Knoxnews.com

Aug. 29 was the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most damaging storms to hit the United States.

Media stories last week recounted the tragic event, the lives lost, and the ongoing effort to rebuild and restore the Gulf coast. Katrina was a natural disaster that taught U.S. many lessons, but one remarkable outcome that has received little press is how Katrina helped to spread heartworm disease.

Five years after the storm, epidemiologists are finding that Hurricane Katrina triggered an exodus of animals from the southern coast that were carrying heartworm disease. Due to technology, transportation, and lack of owner compliance and understanding of the heartworm parasite, an epidemic that would not have occurred under normal conditions took less than five years to crop up.

Read more here.

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