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Am J Public Health. 2007 Apr;97 Suppl 1:S73-81. Epub 2007 Apr 5.

The law and emergencies: surveillance for public health-related legal issues during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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Office of the Chief of Public Health Practice, Public Health Law Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga 30333, USA.


Law influenced every aspect of the public health response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, from evacuation orders, to waivers of medical licensing requirements, to the clean-up of public health threats on private property. We used public health surveillance of news reports to identify and characterize legal issues arising during the disaster response in 5 Gulf Coast states. Data collected from news reports of the events in real time were followed-up by interviews with selected state legal and emergency management officials. Our analysis indicates the value of surveillance during and after emergency responses in identifying public health-related legal issues and helps to inform the strengthening of legal preparedness frameworks for future disasters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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