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EINet Alert ~ Sep 02, 2005
*****A free service of the APEC Emerging Infections Network*****
APEC EINet News Briefs offers the latest news, journal articles, and notifications for emerging infections affecting the APEC member economies. It was created to foster transparency, communication, and collaboration in emerging infectious diseases among health professionals, international business and commerce leaders, and policy makers in the Asia-Pacific region.
In this edition:
- APEC EINet Alert--Hurricane Katrina
APEC EINet Alert--Hurricane Katrina
In view of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, APEC EINet is on heightened alert for disease occurrence in the affected areas of the southern USA. EINet sends sympathy to those affected by this devastating disaster. The primary challenges in these early hours are relief and providing access to clean water, food supplies, sanitation, healthcare, and adequate shelter. Many relief organizations are mobilizing to respond and we will update our users as we learn useful information about these efforts. It is possible that infectious diseases--especially those that are waterborne--will increase in incidence in the area.
After the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, fortunately, there were no large epidemics, only isolated outbreaks of measles, dengue, and malaria. Michael Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services, declared a public health emergency for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas 31 Aug 2005. He warned there were concerns about cholera, typhoid and dehydrating diseases. The biggest risk is expected to come from contaminated water, which as well as being harmful to health, provides an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. CDC is advising people to throw away food that may have come into contact with flood water and only to drink bottled water. CDC records from previous US disasters show the majority of medical problems after the events have been associated with diarrhea and asthma. Viruses such as hepatitis A could be a threat as well as dangerous strains of E.coli. Another virus which may cause a problem is West Nile Virus, which peaks in the US in August and September (PAHO/BBC 9/1/05).
The following are some relevant websites pertaining to Hurricane Katrina:
CDC Hurricane Recovery website
- Interim Immunization Recommendations for Emergency Responders: Hurricane Katrina
HHS: Disasters & Emergencies: Hurricanes
Federal Emergency Management Agency
PAHO Hurricane Katrina website
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
American Red Cross
International Society for Infectious Diseases
- The major hazard facing emergency service personnel is spilt blood and any risk can be greatly reduced by preventing contact with blood (use of gloves, face and eye protection, and protective clothing where necessary).
Comprehensive Resource: “Public Health Management of Disasters, The Practice Guide”
APHA offers disaster management information, including infectious disease related information (Common Foodborne Diseases Caused by Bacteria; Diseases Affecting Displaced Persons in Disasters). APHA’s 133rd Annual Meeting, which was scheduled for November 5-9, 2005 in New Orleans, USA, will be held in an alternative location. A list of FEMA’s recommendations for support organizations are provided, hyperlinked with telephone numbers (http://www.apha.org/meetings/new_orleans_update.htm). (http://www.apha.org/preparedness/Katrina_relief.htm)