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Prehosp Disaster Med. 2002 Jul-Sep;17(3):126-33.

Post-flood--infectious diseases in Mozambique.

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Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Nippon Medical School.



The types of medical care required during a disaster are determined by variables such as the cycle and nature of the disaster. Following a flood, there exists the potential for transmission of water-borne diseases and for increased levels of endemic illnesses such as vector-borne diseases. Therefore, consideration of the situation of infectious diseases must be addressed when providing relief. The Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) Medical Team was sent to Mozambique where a flood disaster occurred during January to March 2000. The team operated in the Hokwe area of the State of Gaza, in the mid-south of Mozambique where damage was the greatest.


An epidemiological study was conducted. Information was collected from medical records by abstracting data at local medical facilities, interviewing in habitants and evacuees, and conducting analyses of water.


A total of 2,611 patients received medical care during the nine days. Infectious diseases were detected in 85% of all of patients, predominantly malaria, respiratory infectious diseases, and diarrhea. There was no outbreak of cholera or dysentery. Self-reports of the level of health decreased among the flood victims after the event. The incidence of malaria increased by four to five times over non-disaster periods, and the quality of drinking water deteriorated after the event.


Both the number of patients and the incidence of endemic infectious diseases, such as malaria and diarrhea, increased following the flood. Also, there was a heightening of risk factors for infectious diseases such as an increase in population, deterioration of physical strength due to the shortage of food and the temporary living conditions for safety purposes, and turbid degeneration of drinking water. These findings support the hypotheses that there exists the potential for the increased transmission of water borne diseases and that there occurs increased levels of endemic illnesses during the post-flood period.

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