Monday, September 05, 2005

It's going to get easier, right?


If you really need some good news about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, be careful what CDC sites you visit.

On the other hand, if you are going to living or working in the devastated Gulf region for the next few months (maybe years), you better check in with them.

The Center for Disease Control has a compact page entitled:
Key Facts About Hurricane Recovery.

Some of the bullet points are:
Prevent Illness from FOOD
Prevent Illness from WATER
Prevent and treat OTHER ILLNESS and INJURIES
*This section has subheadings such as:
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
Avoid floodwater and mosquitoes
[Ed. note: Since that is damn near impossible, then it is mandatory to find out what you expose yourself to by operating in floodwater and getting eaten by mosquitoes.*]
Avoid unstable buildings and structures
Beware of wild or stray animals

The CDC does have some good news regarding infectious diseases after a natural disaster in the United States:
- Decaying bodies create very little risk for major disease outbreaks.
- Outbreaks from infectious diseases are rare in developed countries.
- Cholera and typhoid are very unlikely

On the other hand, Laurie Garrett (Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations) sounds this alarm to her colleagues:

Members of the Infectious
Diseases Society of America, which has mobilized scientists and
physicians nationwide in readiness to respond should an outbreak
occur, have compiled this list of possible organisms to be concerned
about at this time:
Typhoid (depends on likelihood of carriers- fairly plausible)
Enterohemorrhagic E coli
Enterotoxogenic E coli
Enteroinvasive E coli
Vibrio parahemolyticus and vulnificus (including contamination of
gulf shellfish)
Clostridium perfringens
Bacillus cereus
Staphylococcal intoxication

      Other enteric-spread:
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis E
Polio (very high herd immunity)
Coxsackie and other Enteroviruses



      Vector borne:
West Nile Virus (likely to be highly problematic)
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
St. Louis Encephalitis
LaCross Encephalitis
Dengue fever (real risk)
Typhus fever (remote likelihood, last outbreak 1921)
Murine Typhus (not often major)
Trench (Quintana) fever
Relapsing fever (Borrelia recurrentis)
Plague (unlikely, non-endemic area)

      Respiratory and close contact:
Measles, mumps (herd immunity likely very high)
Pertussis (herd immunity modestly high among high-risk age

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