Harvey latest: High E. coli levels in Houston-area floodwaters

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 29: People walk past an abandoned car after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

TEXAS — A Texas A&M University analysis of floodwater samples from the Houston area shows E. coli levels that are 125 times higher than is considered safe for swimming.

Terry Gentry, an associate professor in the university’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, says even walking through floodwater could lead to infections and other problems.

Gentry says tests from a sample in Cypress, a suburb northwest of Houston, showed bacteria levels 15 times higher than acceptable for wading.

E. coli in water isn’t what causes illnesses but is an “indicator bacteria” that signals the presence of fecal matter, which can make people sick.