Four people in Louisiana have been killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in “hurricane-related deaths”, the state’s department of health has announced.
The news comes after Hurricane Laura hit the territory this week with 150 mph winds as a Category four storm, becoming one of the strongest ever to hit the US.
“The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is sadly verifying an additional four storm-related deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. We do not have other details at this time,” the department posted on Twitter.
Over 850,000 people were left without power across Louisiana and east Texas, in many cases forcing people to turn to the use of alternate power sources such as gasoline generators.
The Centres for Disease Control issued a warning over carbon monoxide poisoning in the wake of the storm on Thursday, advising against improper use of alternative power sources amidst the emergency.
“Those without power may turn to alternate power sources such as gasoline generators and may use propane or charcoal grills for cooking,” the advisory said.
“If used or placed improperly, these sources can lead to carbon monoxide build up inside buildings, garages, or campers and poison the people and animals inside.”
The department warned that the symptoms of poisoning are non-specific but could include tension-type headache, dizziness, flu-like symptoms without a fever, drowsiness, chest pain, and altered mental status.
They urged clinicians in the hurricane zone to pay attention to symptoms that could be related to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Louisiana Department of Health is sadly verifying an additional four storm-related deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. We do not have other details at this time.
This brings the total number of deaths to 10.
— Louisiana Department of Health (@LADeptHealth)
The four deaths, which were confirmed on Friday evening, bring the state’s death total as a result of the storm to 10, according to the department.
News of the first death caused by the hurricane came late on Thursday morning after a 14-year-old girl was killed after a tree fell on her house.
Later in the day, three adult men were found to have died in the same manner in separate incidents.
“As the state recovers from Hurricane Laura, LDH will continue to update the number of verified storm-related deaths,” the department concluded.