"No diseases after floods, danger still not over"

BELGRADE -- The epidemiological situation is stable in the areas recently hit by severe floods in Serbia but the risks of potential diseases have not been ruled out yet.

Obrenovac on Monday (Tanjug)
Obrenovac on Monday (Tanjug)

This is what the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Family stated at its Monday session.

"Although much has been done in terms of disease prevention, we cannot say that the worst is over yet because the incubation period for certain diseases still has not ended," State Secretary at the Ministry of Health Berislav Vekić said and added that "a reliable image of the success achieved in this area can be reviewed only in a couple of weeks from now."

Vekić said that only a few sporadic cases of intestinal and respiratory infections have been recorded in some emergency accommodation centers in the flood-hit areas in May.

Director of the Serbian Public Health Institute Dragan Ilić stated that the greatest risk was linked to the water supply system and that thanks to the measures implemented before the flood wave reached bigger settlements, not a single infection case resulting from bacteriologically unsafe drinking water has been registered so far.

Speaking about the persons who had to be evacuated, Ilić noted that their numbers in collective accommodation centers was constantly dropping and that the latest data gathered late on Sunday show that 1,398 people are still using this mode of accommodation, while the centers were expected to close in the next few weeks.

Only five more cities in Serbia do not have safe tap water, Director of the Belgrade City Institute of Public Health Slobodan Tosović said and specified that citizens of Obrenovac are being supplied with technical water while water tanks are used to provide the local population with drinking water in Paraćin, Svilajnac and Babušnica. Doljevac is still not getting any water supplies, he said.

"We were most afraid of water-transmittable pandemics," he stated, and noted that prevention of such diseases is a major success since around 50 percent of settlements in Serbia do not have bacteriologically safe drinking water even in regular circumstances.