The Effect of Hurricanes on Pathogenic Diseases
While hurricanes are known to cause immediate destruction through flooding and strong winds, pathogenic diseases as a result of hurricanes are less recognized. Evidence shows that airborne opportunists and waterborne diseases are more common in the environment after hurricanes, as are visits to the emergency room for respiratory and skin ailments. In addition, infections that result from overcrowding tend to increase in shelters while mosquito-borne viruses can increase in number over the long-term. Understanding the effect of hurricanes on these pathogens in the environment can help public health professionals and the public be better prepared when major hurricanes occur, as well as decrease the incidence of illness and death after a hurricane.
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Speaker / Author:
Lisa R. Maness, MS, PhD, MT (ASCP, AMT), Clinical Laboratory Science Department, Winston-Salem State University