Conditions After Earthquake May Trigger Infectious Diseases

Conditions After Earthquake Can Trigger Infectious Diseases
Conditions After Earthquake May Trigger Infectious Diseases

📩 27/02/2023 12:55

Şanlıurfa Harran University Hospital, Head of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology Department Assoc. Dr. Mehmet Reşat Ceylan warned that the environmental conditions deteriorated with the earthquake and the traumas experienced may cause many infectious diseases to occur over time.

Assoc. Dr. Ceylan pointed out that the deteriorating environmental conditions since the first days of the earthquake and the physical and mental traumas experienced by the patients may cause many infectious diseases to occur in the following days and even cause epidemics if adequate precautions are not taken.

Stating that death and traumas develop from the first day after an earthquake, he said, “In these acute periods, while infectious diseases are not a cause of death at the beginning, various infections can develop with the deterioration of environmental conditions in the post-earthquake period, and disaster survivors may die from infection.” said.

Ceylan stated that the hygiene problems caused by the crowds in the camps after the earthquake could increase these negative conditions and said, "As a result of the earthquake, the destruction of water and sewerage networks, the mixing of clean and dirty water, as well as the damage of electricity and gas networks, the lack of clean food and water facilitates the development of infection." he said.

Saying that after the earthquake, different infectious diseases can occur depending on the environmental conditions in the short and long term, Ceylan shared the following information:

“Phase 1: During the earthquake (days 0-4): It is the period in which those affected by the earthquake are rescued and the first treatment of disaster-related injuries is done. Infections may develop at the site of injury.

Phase 2: Post-earthquake (days 4-30): This is the period when the first wave of infectious diseases can occur. During this period, food-borne and/or water-borne infections or infections transmitted by droplets can be seen.

Phase 3: Healing and recovery period (over 30 days): It is the period in which infections with a long incubation period and latent (late, latent) infections may become apparent. In this period, infectious diseases, which were common in the disaster area before, may cause epidemics among people.

Ceylan emphasized that especially infections or epidemics occur between 4 and 30 days after the earthquake in the acute period until the improvement of living conditions after the earthquake, and said, “During this period, earthquake zones and tent-container cities must be under control.” used the phrases.

Drawing attention to the importance of tetanus vaccine, Ceylan said that people who were injured from under the rubble and injured by dirty soil or other materials in this process should definitely be vaccinated against tetanus.

Ceylan stated that diarrhea epidemics are among the water and food-borne infections that develop due to the deterioration of hygienic conditions, and said:

“The most important cause of death in the shelter camps where the victims stayed after natural disasters was diarrhea, and it was the cause of the majority of the deaths. Diarrhea outbreaks can generally develop in overcrowded sheltering camps where hygienic conditions are not fully met. It is expected that the layout of these camps should be well planned and access to clean water should be good.”

Noting that there may be an increase in diseases such as influenza, covid-19, measles and tuberculosis due to the contamination of respiratory tract agents due to the risks posed by crowded environments, Ceylan said, “Pneumonia (pneumonia) comes after diarrhea, especially in deaths that develop after a disaster in children under the age of five. Crowded camps, poor ventilation conditions, malnutrition and especially cold weather increase the risk of pneumonia. The fact that the Covid-19 epidemic is not over yet may cause an increase in the epidemic.” said.

Pointing out that tuberculosis is another type of infection detected after natural disasters, Ceylan said, "The cases that occur especially in the late period are due to the transportation of the victims to other regions after the earthquake, the difficulties in supplying the drugs they were taking before the earthquake, and the inadequacy of health services in the post-earthquake period. can speed it up.” he said.

Emphasizing that the resettlement of disaster victims after natural disasters should be well planned, he said:

“Scabies can also cause epidemics due to the deterioration of hygiene conditions and crowded life and constitute an important health problem. The location of the camps to be established, their proximity to water resources, the distance of mobile toilets and bathrooms to these water resources should be well planned. In addition, ensuring sanitation is one of the important steps at this stage.”

Şanlıurfa Harran University Hospital Chief Physician Assoc. Dr. İdris Kırhan also made a statement on the subject, Head of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology Department Assoc. Dr. While thanking Mehmet Reşat Ceylan, he stated that an important issue that needs attention after the disaster was mentioned.

Drawing attention to the importance of hygiene, Kırhan said, “We need to wash our hands with soap and water before and after meals, while preparing food, before and after the toilet, or when there is a visible contamination on the hands or after contact with a surface with an item that we think is infected. If this is not possible, we recommend cleaning our hands frequently with alcohol-based disinfectants or alcohol-containing liquids such as cologne and wet wipes.” he said.