Friday, June 29, 2012

[EQ] Natural disasters and communicable diseases in the Americas

Natural disasters and communicable diseases in the Americas:
contribution of veterinary public health

Maria Cristina Schneider, Maria Cristina Tirado, Shruthi Rereddy, Raymond Dugas, Maria Isabel Borda, Eduardo Alvarez Peralta,
Sylvain Aldighieri & Ottorino Cosivi - Pan American Health Organization PAHO/WHO

Rivista trimestrale di Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria
edita dall'Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise G. Caporale

2012 - Volume 48 (2), April-June

Available online PDF [26p.] at:

“……The consequences of natural disasters on the people living in the Americas are often amplified by socio-economic conditions. This risk may be increased by climate-related changes.

The public health consequences of natural disasters include fatalities as well as an increased risk of communicable diseases. Many of these diseases are zoonotic and foodborne diseases.

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the importance of natural disasters for the Americas and to emphasise the contribution of veterinary public health (VPH) to the management of zoonotic and foodborne disease risks. An analysis was conducted of natural disasters that occurred in the Americas between 2004 and 2008. Five cases studies illustrating the contributions of VPH in situations of disaster are presented.

The data shows that natural disasters, particularly storms and floods, can create very important public health problems. Central America and the Caribbean, particularly Haiti, presented a higher risk than the other areas of the Americas.

Two priority areas of technical cooperation are recommended for this region, namely: reducing the risk of leptospirosis and other vector-borne disease outbreaks related to floods and hurricanes and improving food safety. The contribution of different disciplines and sectors in disaster preparedness and response is of paramount importance to minimise morbidity and mortality….”


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