Monday, January 18, 2010


The World Health Organization (WHO - an agency of the United Nations) has put out a public health risk assessment for Haiti.
Public health risk assessment and interventions: Earthquake - Haiti

It makes for interesting, and fairly depressing, reading with a lot of connections to the class. Did you know:
  • Cholera is not endemic in Haiti and will hopefully not be a problem. However, disruption of usual water sources and contamination of water by damaged sewage infrastructure may result in unsafe drinking water being consumed, increasing the risk of exposure to diseases such as typhoid fever and hepatitis A (Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), and transmitted by the fecal-oral route.)
  • Risk of wound infection and tetanus are high due to the difficulties with immediate access to health facilities and delayed presentation of acute injuries. Gangrene is a complication of wound contamination, and prompt wound treatment is critical for its prevention.
  • Haiti has the highest TB incidence in the western hemisphere. In 2007, the estimated number of TB cases was 35 000 with an incidence of 147 cases per 100 000 population.
    The estimated prevalence of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR) among all new cases is 1.8%. It is likely that the treatment of thousands of TB patients will be interrupted - approximately 4 000 TB patients were undergoing treatment in Port au Prince alone.
  • Corpses do not represent a public health threat. When death is due to the initial impact of the event and not because of disease, dead bodies have not been associated with outbreaks. Standard infection control precautions are recommended for those managing corpses.

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