This chapter explores how changes in land use, climate, and the function of ecosystems may act synergistically to alter exposure to infectious disease and natural disasters and curtail access to food, clean air, and clean water – basic components of the public’s health. It focuses on the greatest emerging threats from climate and large-scale, anthropogenic changes to landscapes and natural systems for ecosystem services: food production and clean water provision. These 2 are difficult to study using traditional approaches as they are multi-factoral and complex and often occur over very large scales. Ample evidence exists regarding alterations to disease transmission; most but not all show increases. Mechanisms by which changes occur include: changes in the density or presence of disease-related organisms; changes in exposure pathways; and changes in community species composition. Food and water scarcity combined with greater vulnerability to natural disasters may lead to much higher morbidity and mortality e.g. from malnutrition and chronic hunger, particularly in SSA and parts of SE Asia experiencing ecological constraints to local food production due to soil degradation and water scarcity. Water is also needed for drinking, sanitation, hygiene, and food preparation - inadequate access causes millions of deaths. Climate change is expected to worsen water scarcity. Depletion of ecosystem services might impact health only when resources are very constrained and a threshold is reached. Vulnerability to natural disasters (fires, floods, storms, tidal waves, landslides) influences how changing environmental conditions may impact human health. Vulnerability differs by socioeconomic status and by gender (especially women) and age. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
The world’s coastal zones are experiencing rapid development and an increase in storms and flooding. These hazards put coastal communities at heightened risk, which may increase with habitat loss. Here we analyse globally the role and cost effectiveness of coral reefs in risk reduction. Meta-analyses reveal that coral reefs provide substantial protection against natural hazards by reducing wave energy by an average of 97%. Reef crests alone dissipate most of this energy (86%). There are 100 million or more people who may receive risk reduction benefits from reefs or bear hazard mitigation and adaptation costs if reefs are degraded. We show that coral reefs can provide comparable wave attenuation benefits to artificial defences such as breakwaters, and reef defences can be enhanced cost effectively. Reefs face growing threats yet there is opportunity to guide adaptation and hazard mitigation investments towards reef restoration to strengthen this first line of coastal defence.
Natural disasters in the context of public health continue to be a challenge for small island developing states (SIDS) of the Pacific. Pacific SIDS are particularly sensitive to disaster risk given geographic isolation, developing econo- mies, lack of adaptive capacity and the interaction of climate variability with rapid environmental change. Health risks are amplified by the high levels of dependence on wetland resources and population concentration along low-lying floodplains and coastal margins. Thus, the health consequences of disasters cannot be considered in isolation from their wetland ecosystem settings. Wetlands provide protective and essential provisioning services in disasters, yet can also become vehicles for poor health outcomes. In this chapter we review the direct and indirect health con- sequences of interruptions to wetland ecosystem services associated with disaster events and emphasize how longer-term health effects of natural disasters can be exacerbated when wetland services are lost. We examine patterns of ill health for those populations in Pacific SIDS that are associated with wetlands and provide examples of how wetlands can either mitigate or contribute to these health out- comes. Finally, we identify opportunities and examples of improved management of wetland ecosystems for human health benefits under local to regional-scale man- agement frameworks. Greater understanding at the interface of wetland ecology and disaster epidemiology is needed to strengthen existing models of disaster risk man- agement and wetland conservation. We suggest applying principles of Integrated Island Management (IIM) as regionally appropriate means to guide those seeking to build this understanding.
Several decades of research has produced considerable understanding of the complex and interacting factors contributing to the construction of social vulnerability to natural hazards. However, natural hazards remain a considerable challenge to poverty reduction and development in many countries around the world and particularly in South and Southeast Asia. The objective of this paper is to undertake a comprehensive systematic analysis of the scientific literature on coastal hazards to identify the factors contributing to hazard vulnerability, to determine the relationships between them, and to review recommendations for vulnerability reduction. With the employment of meta-analysis methodology, 361 social-economic impacting factors to vulnerability are determined, as well as the complex causal relationship between them. Combined with the analysis on the current popular recommendations in the literature, some important insights into the gaps between the driving factors and the coping policy and measures are concluded.
The public health consequences of tropical cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones) are reviewed. The characteristics and formation of tropical cyclones, epidemiological implications of tropical cyclones, and the public health response and epidemiological investigation following tropical cyclones are discussed. An overview of the prevention and control of public health consequences of tropical cyclones, including forecasting, warning systems, evacuation, shelter, land-use planning, building design, preparedness behaviours, and risk perception, is provided.
OBJECTIVES: The technology and resource-rich solutions of the developed world may not be completely applicable to or replicable in disasters occurring in the developing world. With the current looming hazards of pandemics, climate change, global terrorism and conflicts around the world, policy makers and governments will need high-quality scientific data to make informed decisions for preparedness and mitigation. The evidence on disasters in peer-reviewed journals about the developing world was examined for quality and quantity in this systematic review. METHODS: PubMed was searched using the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms disasters, disaster medicine, rescue work, relief work, and conflict and then refined using the MeSH term developing country. The final list of selected manuscripts were analyzed by type of article, level of evidence, theme of the manuscript and topic, author affiliation, and region of the study. RESULTS: After searching and refining, <1% of the citations in PubMed addressed disasters in developing countries. The majority was original research articles or reviews, and most of the original research articles were level IV or V evidence. Less than 25% of the authors were from the developing world. The predominant themes were missions, health care provision, and humanitarian aid during the acute phase of disasters in the developing world. CONCLUSIONS: Considering that 85% of disasters and 95% of disaster-related deaths occur in the developing world, the overwhelming number of casualties has contributed insignificantly to the world's peer-reviewed literature. Less than 1% of all disaster-related publications are about disasters in the developing world. This may be a publication bias, or it may be a genuine lack of submissions dealing with these disasters. Authors in this part of the world need to contribute to future disaster research through better-quality systematic research and better funding priorities. Aid for sustaining long-term disaster research may be a more useful investment in mitigating future disasters than short-term humanitarian aid missions to the developing world.
BACKGROUND: The empirical literature on the effects of disaster on pregnancy and the postpartum period is limited. The objective of this review was to examine the existing evidence on the effect of disasters on perinatal health. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted by searching electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cinahl, PsycInfo), including literature on disasters and pregnancy outcomes (e.g., preterm birth, low birth weight, congenital anomalies), mental health, and child development. A total of 110 articles were identified, but many published reports were anecdotes or recommendations rather than systematic studies. The final review included 49 peer-reviewed studies that met inclusion criteria. RESULTS: Studies addressing the World Trade Center disaster of September 11 and other terrorist attacks, environmental/chemical disasters, and natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes were identified. Disasters of various types may reduce fetal growth in some women, although there does not appear to be an effect on gestational age at birth. Severity of exposure is the major predictor of mental health issues among pregnant and postpartum women. After a disaster, mental health of the mother may more strongly influence on child development than any direct effect of disaster-related prenatal stress. CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence that disaster impacts maternal mental health and some perinatal health outcomes, particular among highly exposed women. Future research should focus on understudied outcomes such as spontaneous abortion. Relief workers and clinicians should concentrate on the most exposed women, particularly with respect to mental health. TARGET AUDIENCE: Obstetricians & Gynecologists. LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After completion of this educational activity, the obstetrician/gynecologist should be better able to compare and contrast the effects of different types of disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, chemical spills) on pregnant and postpartum women in order to prepare for patient care in the aftermath of such disasters; differentiate the birth outcomes likely to be affected by disaster, in order to identify patients likely to be at high risk; and assess the extent to which pregnant and postpartum women are a uniquely vulnerable population after disaster, to assist in organizing care under such circumstances.
Global climate change is expected to affect the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme water-related weather events such as excessive precipitation, floods, and drought. We conducted a systematic review to examine waterborne outbreaks following such events and explored their distribution between the different types of extreme water-related weather events. Four medical and meteorological databases (Medline, Embase, GeoRef, PubMed) and a global electronic reporting system (ProMED) were searched, from 1910 to 2010. Eighty-seven waterborne outbreaks involving extreme water-related weather events were identified and included, alongside 235 ProMED reports. Heavy rainfall and flooding were the most common events preceding outbreaks associated with extreme weather and were reported in 55·2% and 52·9% of accounts, respectively. The most common pathogens reported in these outbreaks were Vibrio spp. (21·6%) and Leptospira spp. (12·7%). Outbreaks following extreme water-related weather events were often the result of contamination of the drinking-water supply (53·7%). Differences in reporting of outbreaks were seen between the scientific literature and ProMED. Extreme water-related weather events represent a risk to public health in both developed and developing countries, but impact will be disproportionate and likely to compound existing health disparities.
Identifying the risk factors for morbidity and mortality effects pre-, during and post-flood may aid the appropriate targeting of flood-related adverse health prevention strategies. We conducted a systematic PubMed search to identify studies examining risk factors for health effects of precipitation-related floods, among Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) member countries. Research identifying flood-related morbidity and mortality risk factors is limited and primarily examines demographic characteristics such as age and gender. During floods, females, elderly and children appear to be at greater risk of psychological and physical health effects, while males between 10 to 29 years may be at greater risk of mortality. Post-flood, those over 65 years and males are at increased risk of physical health effects, while females appear at greater risk of psychological health effects. Other risk factors include previous flood experiences, greater flood depth or flood trauma, existing illnesses, medication interruption, and low education or socio-economic status. Tailoring messages to high-risk groups may increase their effectiveness. Target populations differ for morbidity and mortality effects, and differ pre-, during, and post-flood. Additional research is required to identify the risk factors associated with pre- and post-flood mortality and post-flood morbidity, preferably using prospective cohort studies. 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Cyclones have significantly affected populations in Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific, and the Americas over the past quarter of a century. Future vulnerability to cyclones will increase due to factors including population growth, urbanization, increasing coastal settlement, and global warming. The objectives of this review were to describe the impact of cyclones on human populations in terms of mortality, injury, and displacement and, to the extent possible, identify risk factors associated with these outcomes. This is one of five reviews on the human impact of natural disasters. Methods. Data on the impact of cyclones were compiled using two methods, a historical review from 1980 to 2009 of cyclone events from multiple databases and a systematic literature review of publications ending in October 2012. Analysis included descriptive statistics and bivariate tests for associations between cyclone characteristics and mortality using Stata 11.0. Findings. There were 412,644 deaths, 290,654 injured, and 466.1 million people affected by cyclones between 1980 and 2009, and the mortality and injury burden was concentrated in less developed nations of Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. Inconsistent reporting suggests this is an underestimate, particularly in terms of the injured and affected populations. The primary cause of cyclone-related mortality is drowning; in developed countries male gender was associated with increased mortality risk, whereas females experienced higher mortality in less developed countries. Conclusions. Additional attention to preparedness and early warning, particularly in Asia, can lessen the impact of future cyclones.
Flood is one of the most common natural disasters, which commonly occurs in all parts of the world. The effects of the disasters considerably become enormous problems to overall public health systems. Flood-related skin diseases are a portion of these consequences presenting with cutaneous manifestations and/or signs of systemic illnesses. We conducted a systematic literature review of research publications relating to flooding and skin diseases. The purpose of this review was to provide dermatologists as well as general practitioners with comprehensive conditions of flood-related skin diseases and suggested treatments. Moreover, we categorized these flood-related diseases into four groups comprising inflammatory skin diseases, skin infections, traumatic skin diseases, and other miscellaneous skin diseases in a bid to implement early interventions and educate, prevent, and efficaciously handle those skin diseases under such a catastrophic situation so that better treatment outcomes and prevention of further complications could be ultimately achieved and accomplished.
Floods are the most common type of disaster globally, responsible for almost 53,000 deaths in the last decade alone (23:1 low- versus high-income countries). This review assessed recent epidemiological evidence on the impacts of floods on human health. Published articles (2004-2011) on the quantitative relationship between floods and health were systematically reviewed. 35 relevant epidemiological studies were identified. Health outcomes were categorized into short- and long-term and were found to depend on the flood characteristics and people's vulnerability. It was found that long-term health effects are currently not well understood. Mortality rates were found to increase by up to 50% in the first year post-flood. After floods, it was found there is an increased risk of disease outbreaks such as hepatitis E, gastrointestinal disease and leptospirosis, particularly in areas with poor hygiene and displaced populations. Psychological distress in survivors (prevalence 8.6% to 53% two years post-flood) can also exacerbate their physical illness. There is a need for effective policies to reduce and prevent flood-related morbidity and mortality. Such steps are contingent upon the improved understanding of potential health impacts of floods. Global trends in urbanization, burden of disease, malnutrition and maternal and child health must be better reflected in flood preparedness and mitigation programs.
Introduction. Climate change projections indicate that droughts will become more intense in the 21 century in some areas of the world. The El Niño Southern Oscillation is associated with drought in some countries, and forecasts can provide advance warning of the increased risk of adverse climate conditions. The most recent available data from EMDAT estimates that over 50 million people globally were affected by drought in 2011. Documentation of the health effects of drought is difficult, given the complexity in assigning a beginning/end and because effects tend to accumulate over time. Most health impacts are indirect because of its link to other mediating circumstances like loss of livelihoods. Methods. The following databases were searched: MEDLINE; CINAHL; Embase; PsychINFO, Cochrane Collection. Key references from extracted papers were hand-searched, and advice from experts was sought for further sources of literature. Inclusion criteria for papers summarised in tables include: explicit link made between drought as exposure and human health outcomes; all study designs/methods; all countries/contexts; any year of publication. Exclusion criteria include: drought meaning shortage unrelated to climate; papers not published in English; studies on dry/arid climates unless drought was noted as an abnormal climatological event. No formal quality evaluation was used on papers meeting inclusion criteria. Results. 87 papers meeting the inclusion criteria are summarised in tables. Additionally, 59 papers not strictly meeting the inclusion criteria are used as supporting text in relevant parts of the results section. Main categories of findings include: nutrition-related effects (including general malnutrition and mortality, micronutrient malnutrition, and anti-nutrient consumption); water-related disease (including E coli, cholera and algal bloom); airborne and dust-related disease (including silo gas exposure and coccidioidomycosis); vector borne disease (including malaria, dengue and West Nile Virus); mental health effects (including distress and other emotional consequences); and other health effects (including wildfire, effects of migration, and damage to infrastructure). Conclusions. The probability of drought-related health impacts varies widely and largely depends upon drought severity, baseline population vulnerability, existing health and sanitation infrastructure, and available resources with which to mitigate impacts as they occur. The socio-economic environment in which drought occurs influences the resilience of the affected population. Forecasting can be used to provide advance warning of the increased risk of adverse climate conditions and can support the disaster risk reduction process. Despite the complexities involved in documentation, research should continue and results should be shared widely in an effort to strengthen drought preparedness and response activities.
INTRODUCTION: This systematic literature review aims to identify documented impacts that windstorms have on human health. Windstorms occur frequently and some researchers have predicted an increase in severe gales in the future, resulting in an urgent need to understand the related patterns of morbidity and mortality. STUDY DESIGN: Systematic literature review. METHODS: A systematic literature review of international evidence on the impacts of windstorms on human health was conducted in May 2012. RESULTS: This review of published evidence demonstrates that human health can be severely affected by windstorms. Direct effects occur during the impact phase of a storm, causing death and injury due to the force of the wind. Becoming airborne, being struck by flying debris or falling trees and road traffic accidents are the main dangers. Indirect effects, occurring during the pre- and post-impact phases of the storm, include falls, lacerations and puncture wounds, and occur when preparing for, or cleaning up after a storm. Power outages are a key issue and can lead to electrocution, fires and burns and carbon monoxide poisoning from gasoline powered electrical generators. Additionally, worsening of chronic illnesses due to lack of access to medical care or medication can occur. Other health impacts include infections and insect bites. CONCLUSION: Public health advice can reduce morbidity and mortality from windstorms. Findings from this review will provide material for increased awareness and education amongst the public and healthcare professionals to prevent and prepare for these health impacts. Nevertheless, more research is needed to identify more specific patterns of health impacts and how these could be reduced in the future.
Background. Floods are the most common natural disaster and the leading cause of natural disaster fatalities worldwide. Risk of catastrophic losses due to flooding is significant given deforestation and the increasing proximity of large populations to coastal areas, river basins and lakeshores. The objectives of this review were to describe the impact of flood events on human populations in terms of mortality, injury, and displacement and, to the extent possible, identify risk factors associated with these outcomes. This is one of five reviews on the human impact of natural disasters Methods. Data on the impact of floods were compiled using two methods, a historical review of flood events from 1980 to 2009 from multiple databases and a systematic literature review of publications ending in October 2012. Analysis included descriptive statistics, bivariate tests for associations and multinomial logistic regression of flood characteristics and mortality using Stata 11.0. Findings. There were 539,811 deaths (range: 510,941 to 568,680), 361,974 injuries and 2,821,895,005 people affected by floods between 1980 and 2009. Inconsistent reporting suggests this is an underestimate, particularly in terms of the injured and affected populations. The primary cause of flood-related mortality is drowning; in developed countries being in a motor-vehicle and male gender are associated with increased mortality, whereas female gender may be linked to higher mortality in low-income countries. Conclusions. Expanded monitoring of floods, improved mitigation measures, and effective communication with civil authorities and vulnerable populations has the potential to reduce loss of life in future flood events.
Insect bites and stings, often complicated by allergic reactions or skin infections with community-acquired pathogens, are common sources of morbidity following hurricanes and flooding disasters. The hymenopterids are the most commonly stinging arthropods to cause allergic reactions, and include bees, wasps, and ants. To assess the evolving epidemiology of hymenopterid-inflicted injuries, and the impact of hurricanes and flooding disasters on hymenopterid-inflicted injuries in the United States, an epidemiological analysis of the scientific literature on hymenopterid stings and allergic sting reactions was conducted by MEDLINE search, 1966-2006. The increasing incidence of hymenopterid-inflicted injuries following hurricanes and flooding disasters was described. Common immunological reactions to hymenopterid-inflicted injuries were stratified by clinical severity and outcome. Current recommendations for management, prevention, and prophylaxis of hymenopterid-inflicted injuries were presented. Hymenopterid stings and allergic reactions remain common indications for emergency department visits, especially following hurricanes and flooding disasters. Unrecognized anaphylactic reactions to hymenopterid stings remain significant causes of unanticipated deaths outdoors in young people. Disaster planners and managers are obliged to alert regional healthcare providers of the increased risks of hymenopterid-inflicted injuries following flooding disasters and to assure that emergency drug formularies are properly stocked to treat hymenopterid-inflicted injuries.
OBJECTIVE: To review existing literature to assess the risks of infection from dead bodies after a natural disaster occurs, including who is most at risk, what precautions should be taken, and how to safely dispose of the bodies. METHODS: Disease transmission requires the presence of an infectious agent, exposure to that agent, and a susceptible host. These elements were considered to characterize the infectious disease risk from dead bodies. Using the PubMed on-line databases of the National Library of Medicine of the United States of America, searching was done for relevant literature on the infection risks for public safety workers and funeral workers as well as for guidelines for the management of the dead and prevention of infection. A small but significant literature was also reviewed regarding the disposal of the dead and the contamination of groundwater by cemeteries. RESULTS: Victims of natural disasters usually die from trauma and are unlikely to have acute or "epidemic-causing" infections. This indicates that the risk that dead bodies pose for the public is extremely small. However, persons who are involved in close contact with the dead-such as military personnel, rescue workers, volunteers, and others-may be exposed to chronic infectious hazards, including hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, HIV, enteric pathogens, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Suitable precautions for these persons include training, use of body bags and disposable gloves, good hygiene practice, and vaccination for hepatitis B and tuberculosis. Disposal of bodies should respect local custom and practice where possible. When there are large numbers of victims, burial is likely to be the most appropriate method of disposal. There is little evidence of microbiological contamination of groundwater from burial. CONCLUSIONS: Concern that dead bodies are infectious can be considered a "natural" reaction by persons wanting to protect themselves from disease. However, clear information about the risks is needed so that responsible local authorities ensure that the bodies of disaster victims are handled appropriately and with due respect. This paper provides a source of information for those who are in the unfortunate position of managing those bodies.
Natural disasters may lead to infectious disease outbreaks when they result in substantial population displacement and exacerbate synergic risk factors (change in the environment, in human conditions and in the vulnerability to existing pathogens) for disease transmission. We reviewed risk factors and potential infectious diseases resulting from prolonged secondary effects of major natural disasters that occurred from 2000 to 2011. Natural disasters including floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, tropical cyclones (e.g., hurricanes and typhoons) and tornadoes have been secondarily described with the following infectious diseases including diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, malaria, leptospirosis, measles, dengue fever, viral hepatitis, typhoid fever, meningitis, as well as tetanus and cutaneous mucormycosis. Risk assessment is essential in post-disaster situations and the rapid implementation of control measures through re-establishment and improvement of primary healthcare delivery should be given high priority, especially in the absence of pre-disaster surveillance data.
Using more than 750 estimates, we perform a meta-regression analysis of studies examining the relationship between economic growth per capita and natural disasters. [•] We conclude that there exists a negative genuine effect of natural disasters on economic growth which is increasing over the period of our analysis. [•] In particular, it turns out that climatic disasters in developing countries have the most significant adverse impact on economic growth. [•] We also find strong evidence that a large part of the negative impact of natural disasters found in studies is caused by a publication bias. [Copyright &y& Elsevier] Copyright of Global Environmental Change Part A: Human & Policy Dimensions is the property of Pergamon Press - An Imprint of Elsevier Science and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract.