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Hospitals expect wave of Katrina victims

  |   Sept. 8, 2005 at 7:54 AM
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Hospitals in the Hurricane-stricken southeastern states are bracing for a second wave of casualties as clean-up and reconstruction begins.

At least four deaths have been reported from water-borne bacterial infections in sewage-filled floodwaters since the killer storm struck Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama Aug. 29.

At New Orleans' 174-bed Northshore Hospital, staff told the Wall Street Journal one man showed up at the emergency room with a deep gash down the back of his calf after losing his balance while chain-sawing a downed tree. Tuesday, two evacuees rushed in after being bitten by a disoriented, homeless dog.

Meanwhile, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stevens said "30-plus" bodies were found in St. Rita's Nursing Home in lower St. Bernard Parish, apparently abandoned by staff.

New Orleans officials reportedly have ordered 25,000 body bags.

In Mississippi, authorities blame Katrina for 154 deaths, and the toll is expected to rise, Gov. Haley Barbour told a House committee in a video link Wednesday. Barbour told lawmakers authorities have rescued about 5,000 people, CNN said.

The disaster area left by Katrina stretches along the Gulf Coast from southeast Louisiana to Mobile, Alabama, and at least 150 miles inland.

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