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J Environ Health. 2012 May;74(9):16-21.

2005 hurricane surveillance: measures to reduce carbon monoxide poisoning in all Floridians.

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  • 1Florida A&M University, USA.


The 2005 Florida hurricanes caused widespread power outages, increasing generator use that directly resulted in a surge in carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings. Of the 126 CO poisonings documented, 77% were related to generator use and 43% of these generators were placed outside but near a window. African-Americans and Latinos had a higher incidence of CO poisoning. The strength of the authors' study described here was the inclusion of the first responder network in one surveillance system for hurricane response. Notable advances have occurred since the authors' study, including CO poisoning listed as a reportable condition, regulation requiring CO detectors, CO generator warning labeling, and the development of a local surveillance and classification program for the county health departments. To prepare for future multiple hurricane seasons, comprehensive outreach should be focused at the local level through the first responder network and community groups to reduce CO poisonings in all populations.

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