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Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Apr;12(4):543-8.

Negligible risk for epidemics after geophysical disasters.

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1
University Hospital of Besançon, Besancon, France.

Abstract

After geophysical disasters (i.e., earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis), media reports almost always stress the risk for epidemics; whether this risk is genuine has been debated. We analyzed the medical literature and data from humanitarian agencies and the World Health Organization from 1985 to 2004. Of >600 geophysical disasters recorded, we found only 3 reported outbreaks related to these disasters: 1 of measles after the eruption of Pinatubo in Philippines, 1 of coccidioidomycosis after an earthquake in California, and 1 of Plasmodium vivax malaria in Costa Rica related to an earthquake and heavy rainfall. Even though the humanitarian response may play a role in preventing epidemics, our results lend support to the epidemiologic evidence that short-term risk for epidemics after a geophysical disaster is very low.

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PMID:
16704799
PMCID:
PMC3294713
DOI:
10.3201/eid1204.051569
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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