Disaster Report for Hurricane ABC Island
Disasters and emergencies take their toll on governments every year. These catastrophes do have devastating effects regarding the loss of lives and damage to property. A disaster such as a hurricane causes widespread destruction and flooding, thus leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless and without clean running water. Moreover, after the immediate damages such as the broken sewerage, many hazards remain. Consequently, infectious diseases are likely to follow. The hurricane which passed through ABC Island made the treatment plants inoperable, resulted in the breakage of the sewerage system and the death of animals and humans. This means that there are many decomposing corpses on ABC Island, either floating in the floodwaters or lying on the streets. The leaking of large amounts of untreated sewage and the presence of the bodies in the floodwaters raises concerns about infectious diseases. Given the hurricane on ABC Island, it is essential to review the possible contagious diseases to be expected and how they can be prevented and treated.
There is no clean running water on ABC Island, and there is an increase in exposure to raw sewage, the roads are blocked and unable to accommodate vehicular traffic, the treatment plants are inoperable. There is a large number of dead animals and human corpses either floating in the waters or lying on the streets. This, therefore, means that the diseases will come from the drinking water and from the stagnant waters that become breeding grounds for vectors such as mosquitoes. Moreover, the leaking untreated sewage will likely contaminate the floodwaters. Therefore, some of the waterborne infections that may arise after the hurricane include Hepatitis A, Cholera, and Typhoid. Furthermore, the stagnant waters will provide perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as Malaria and Dengue Fever. A large number of roaming wild animals and the crowded aid centers also puts the population at risk of diseases such as tuberculosis.
Typhoid is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria – Salmonella typhimurium, which lives in the humans’ intestines and bloodstream. Transmission is always human to human because no animals carry the bacteria, which causes the disease (WHO, 2015). The disease is passed through direct contact with the feces or urine of an infected individual. Also, typhoid can be spread through infected food and water. According to Mayo Clinic (2015), typhoid is endemic in developing nations such as ABC Island, and most cases are the results of poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water. The incubation period for Salmonella typhimurium is usually about 1-3 weeks (Newman, 2016). The immediate symptoms of typhoid fever include prolonged fever, nausea, loss of appetite, and headache (WHO, 2015). These symptoms are almost similar to those of malaria, and if a clinical test is not done, it might lead to the wrong diagnosis. It is, therefore, essential to carry out a clinical examination to make the correct diagnosis.
After the hurricane, there are no clean water sources in ABC Island since the sewage system is blocked and leaks large amounts of untreated sewage. Typhoid is spread through the ingestion of infected human feces, which will happen through the infected water sources. Also, the gas and electricity on ABC Island are inoperable. Therefore, to prevent typhoid spread for those who do not have electricity and bottled water, the CDC offers some recommendations. First, it is essential to administer typhoid vaccination to the population. However, typhoid vaccination is not always recommended because it is expensive and does not offer full protection from infection (CDC, 2010). Still, vaccination will be the best prevention method because gas and electricity are inoperable, meaning that the residents cannot boil drinking water. Drinking water can also be treated by water-purifying tablets and household bleach (Newman, 2016). Antibiotics are the only successful typhoid treatment, and the most often administered antibiotics are Ceftriaxone and Ciprofloxacin.
Cholera is a contagious disease caused by the consumption of water or food contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae (MedlinePlus, 2017). Cholera causes watery diarrhea and vomiting, leading to dehydration, and can kill within hours if left untreated (WHO, 2017). Unlike typhoid, which can also be caused by direct contact with an infected individual’s feces or urine, cholera is exclusively caused by contaminated food and water (Mayo Clinic, 2017). The cholera epidemic risk is high when natural catastrophes such as hurricanes destroy sewerage systems and cause to living without proper sanitation, as it is in the case of ABC Island. To control and prevent the spread of cholera and reduce deaths from the disease, it is important to employ a multifaceted approach that includes vaccination, social mobilization, hygiene, and treatment.
Cholera vaccine exists; however, the CDC (2016) and WHO (2017), does not usually recommend it to be used during emergencies. The vaccine lasts only a few months and may not offer 100 per cent prevention against cholera. Therefore, it is essential to treat water for drinking and preparing food. Moreover, the population should be sensitized to the importance of washing hands with soap and clean water. If soap is not available, alcohol-based hand cleaners can be used (WHO, 2017). Cholera is an easily treatable disease. It can be successfully treated by the immediate administration of oral rehydration solution (ORS), which replaces the fluids and salts lost through diarrhea (CDC, 2016).
Hepatitis is a viral liver disease caused by Hepatitis A virus, which leads to liver inflammation and hinders its functions (Mayo Clinic, 2014). Hepatitis A is transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated water and food and can also be passed through direct contact with an infectious person through the fecal-oral route (WHO, 2017). The incubation period of Hepatitis A is usually 2-4 weeks. However, it is a highly contagious liver infection, and an infected person can spread the Hepatitis A virus to others about two weeks before the symptoms start appearing (CDC, 2017). Some of the disease symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, malaise, jaundice, and dark-colored urine (WHO, 2017). Administering Hepatitis A vaccine is the best defense for preventing the disease (HHS.gov, 2015). Maintaining proper hygiene, safe water supply, and hand washing are equally important to combat the disease (WHO, 2017). Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Hepatitis A, but the doctors can treat disease symptoms such as fluid loss.
Malaria and Dengue fever
The homes on ABC Island are flattened and surrounded by stagnant waters. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay eggs. Therefore, the mosquito populations on ABC Island will increase. Consequently, the prevalence of Malaria, Dengue fever, and West Nile will also increase because mosquitoes transmit these diseases.
Malaria is a vector-borne disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. The incubation period of malaria is usually seven days or longer (WHO, 2017). According to Lam (2017), vector (mosquitoes) control is a significant way of preventing and reducing malaria transmission. Providing insecticide-treated mosquito nets is one of the forms of vector control. Moreover, malaria can also be prevented and treated by administering antimalarial drugs to the population (CDC, 2017). It is recommended that those affected start antimalarial treatments immediately because malaria is also a life-threatening disease.
According to Paddock (2017), Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a family of viruses. Therefore, just like malaria, dengue fever is also transmitted through mosquito bites – Aedes aegypti mosquito. The primary symptoms of dengue fever include high fever accompanied by pain behind the eyes, bleeding gums, severe muscle and joint pain or nausea and vomiting. Dengue fever is controlled by preventing mosquito bites and draining stagnant waters. According to Mayo Clinic (2017), there is no concrete treatment for dengue fever. However, the disease can only be managed by treating the symptoms.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a transmittable disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mclntosh, 2017). TB normally attacks the lungs. Like flu or cold, TB is also spread through the air when an infected person talks, coughs, laughs, or sneezes. To catch TB, they must spend a lot of time around the person who has it. The aid centers that will be set up after the disaster are likely to be overcrowded. This will create an environment for easy transmission of tuberculosis. The common symptoms of TB include chest pains and sputum with blood. TB is both curable and preventable. To prevent TB’s spread, it is crucial to ensure that there is enough ventilation in the aid centers (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Also, TB is treatable; however, the treatment varies depending on the individual’s age.
To respond effectively to this disaster and avoid the spread of infectious diseases, it is essential to have a competent and caring response team. The team must work hand in hand to ensure that the population is supplied with clean water, water-purifying tablets, antibiotics, and vaccines. They should also be sensitized to the importance of maintaining proper personal hygiene to prevent the spread of diseases. Moreover, attempts to destroy the breeding grounds for mosquitoes must also be made. Finally, the government can also seek international assistance to help in managing the disaster.
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