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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006 Jan 20;55(2):32-5.

Surveillance in hurricane evacuation centers--Louisiana, September-October 2005.


On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana. Before the arrival of Katrina, New Orleans and surrounding parishes were under a mandatory evacuation order. Because of this order and subsequent flooding, approximately 400,000 residents became displaced. On August 28, approximately 50,000 persons began moving into evacuation centers (ECs) throughout the state of Louisiana (American Red Cross, unpublished data, 2005). The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health (LAOPH) recognized the need for communicable disease surveillance in the ECs. Although the LAOPH Internet-based Reportable Disease Database was intact and never stopped functioning after the hurricane, LAOPH determined that the large number of ECs warranted active surveillance. On September 8, LAOPH, with the cooperation of the American Red Cross (ARC) and the U.S. Public Health Service, initiated statewide daily syndromic surveillance for communicable diseases in the ECs. In addition to collecting and analyzing data on communicable disease syndromes, data were collected on chronic medical conditions, injuries, and mental health conditions. This report summarizes the development and implementation of this surveillance system in the ECs, the types of data collected and how they were used, and the limitations of the data.

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