The present review will focus on some of the possible infectious disease consequences of disastrous natural phenomena and severe weather, with a particular emphasis on infections associated with floods and the destruction of infrastructure.
The risk of infectious diseases after weather or flood-related natural disasters is often specific to the event itself and is dependent on a number of factors, including the endemicity of specific pathogens in the affected region before the disaster, the type of disaster itself, the impact of the disaster on water and sanitation systems, the availability of shelter, the congregating of displaced persons, the functionality of the surviving public health infrastructure, the availability of healthcare services, and the rapidity, extent, and sustainability of the response after the disaster. Weather events and floods may also impact disease vectors and animal hosts in a complex system.
Weather or flood-related natural disasters may be associated with an increased risk of soft tissue, respiratory, diarrheal, and vector-borne infectious diseases among survivors and responders.
aDivision of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston
bDepartment of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston
cDivision of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
dDepartment of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Correspondence to Edward T. Ryan, MD, Tropical and Geographic Medicine Center Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital Jackson 504, 55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114, USA Tel: +1 617 726 6175; fax: +1 617 726 7416; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org