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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Post-Katrina infectious disease surveillance: Lessons learned in data management and evidence-based policy applications

Elizabeth Hibler, MPH, Formerly with the Indiana State Department of Health, 2216 E. Mabel St., Tucson, AZ 85719, 520-777-3198, ehibler@email.arizona.edu

A 99 member public health and medical team from the State of Indiana conducted disease surveillance in Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. The challenges of disease surveillance in a disaster setting are well documented, but the applications of data to a multi-disciplinary field response are wider than often believed. The primary objective was to monitor the community for infectious disease outbreaks; however the information gathered was in addition useful for evidence-based planning during and after the event. Analysis of data from the populations treated during the three two-week deployments compared to evacuees, who traveled to Indiana and sought care from medical professionals, unexpectedly showed approximately 40% of individuals presenting with chronic illness compared to 34% with infectious disease related chief complaints or diagnosis. However, the frequencies varied significantly when the data was stratified by location of treatment, sub-category of illness, and time of deployment. The analysis also showed an expected shift over time with decreasing incidence of injuries compared to an increase in mental health concerns. This data was useful during the deployments for pharmaceutical inventory management, determination of staffing needs, and requests for additional resource support. In addition, the incident command staff implemented an evidence-based policy making process using surveillance data as a metric of the need for assistance in the community and justification for continuation of resource expenditure. Post-event, this information has provided useful in developing an epidemiology response plan and identification of the resources necessary to sustain a prolonged public health emergency response.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Surveillance, Evidence Based Practice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Impact of and Response to Gulf Coast Hurricanes

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA