Risks associated with flooding events

21 Mar 2020

Harwood, D.

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The article from the APHA ‘Medium- to long-term endemic disease risks associated with flooding events’ (VR, 7 March 2020, vol 186, pp 275-277) was very practical and timely.

I would like to add one further risk factor not referred to in the article, namely the risk associated with water dropwort (Oenanthe crocata) and specifically its toxic root/tuber formation.

I base this warning on an incident investigated during my time working at the APHA regional laboratory in Carmarthen. Overflow from the river Towy had caused significant flooding along the valley, and at that time was a regular occurrence. My involvement began after we failed to confirm a cause of death for heifers found dead having been recently turned out onto the fields after the flood water had receded.

Several suspicious root fragments were found in the rumen content and a farm investigation visit was undertaken. Sporadic clumps of uprooted water...