INFECTIOUS DISEASE AND NATURAL DISASTER
The earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 was one of the worst natural disasters in history. According to Peranteau et al. (2010):
Immediately after the earthquake the need so vastly outstripped the resources that patients generally lacked basic identifiers and medical records […] Treatment plans were reduced to word of mouth. At first, we used scraps of paper or cardboard taped to the patient … (p. 127)
Nearly a quarter of a million people were killed with another quarter of a million injured, and millions of people were displaced from their homes (World Health Organization, 2010). In the ensuing months, a cholera epidemic ravaged the already traumatized country. The destruction of infrastructure, contamination of water supply, and increased human vulnerability from displacement create favorable conditions for the spread of infectious diseases following natural disasters. Respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases are also commonly encountered after floods, tsunamis, and other meteorological and geophysical disasters.
In the aftermath of such tragedies, priority is placed on implementing control measures to re-establish basic healthcare and prevent epidemics. Nurses often play important leadership roles in both domestic and international disaster response. For this Discussion, you consider disasters from an epidemiologic perspective and how nurses can address health outcomes following them.
Peranteau, W. H., Havens, J. M., Harrington, S., & Gates, J. D. (2010). Re-establishing surgical care at Port-au-Prince General Hospital, Haiti. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 211(1), 126–130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2010.04.015
World Health Organization. (2010, September). Letter from the editor. Focus: Emergency and Humanitarian Action, 5. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/205106/B4566.pdf;jsessionid=3C735D0DC06BD1C7497635EDF5928C93?sequence=1
Be sure to review the Learning Resources before completing this activity.
Click the weekly resources link to access the resources.
• Curley, A. L. C. (Ed.). (2020). Population-based nursing: Concepts and competencies for advanced practice (3rd ed.). Springer.
o Chapter 12, “Implications of Global Health in Population-Based Nursing”
• Maness, L. R. (2019). The effect of hurricanes on pathogenic diseases. Journal of Environmental Health, 81(6), 16–20.
• Mavrouli, M., Mavroulis, S., Lekkas, E., & Tsakris, A. (2021).Respiratory infections following earthquake-induced tsunamis: Transmission risk factors and lessons learned for disaster risk management.Links to an external site. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(9), Article 4952. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094952
• Nuzzo, J. B., Meyer, D., Snyder, M., Ravi, S. J., Lapascu, A., Souleles, J., Andrada, C. I., & Bishai, D. (2019). What makes health systems resilient against infectious disease outbreaks and natural hazards? Results from a scoping reviewLinks to an external site.. BMC Public Health, 19(1), Article 1310. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7707-z
• World Health Organization. (2018, February 22). Health inequities and their causes [Multimedia]Links to an external site.. https://www.who.int/news-room/facts-in-pictures/detail/health-inequities-and-their-causes
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