Food and waterborne disease

Diarrheal diseases are probably the major cause of most epidemic disease associated with natural disasters (Hatch et al., 1994; Goma Epidemiology Group, 1995; Toole and Waldman, 1997; Spiegel et al., 2002; Connolly et al., 2004;

Orellana, 2005; Waring and Brown, 2005; Wilder-Smith, 2005; Izadi et ad., 2006). In camps, these usually account for about 40 percent of deaths during the initial phase and over 80 percent of deaths for children less than two years of age (Connolly et al., 2004). The contributing factors are primarily polluted water from fecal contamination, which may occur during transport and storage; the sharing of cooking utensils; a scarcity of hygiene products; and food contamination. An example is the largest recorded outbreak of diarrhea, which afflicted Rwandan refugees in Goma in 1994, when diarrhea was responsible for over 40,000 deaths; about 60 percent were due to cholera and 40 percent to shigellosis (Goma Epidemiology Group, 1995; see also Chapter 11). Contributing factors were that the most common antibiotic used for treatment, doxycycline, was inactive against the strain implicated, the rate of rehydration was too slow, and the health-care workers managing these cases simply lacked experience (Siddique et al., 1995). Particularly important is fecal contamination of the water supply resulting in risks for cholera in endemic areas, but also typhoid fever, sal-monellosis, shigellosis, hepatitis A, and hepatitis E.

Disaster Preparedness Kit

Disaster Preparedness Kit

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