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Understanding Infectious Disease Risk in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Authors: Margaret Carrel*, University of Iowa
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: infectious disease, flood, CAFO, hurricane
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Increased intensity of hurricanes is predicted in the coming decades due to global climate change. A major feature of recent hurricanes has been heavy rainfall leading to unprecedented flooding. The potential impact of flooding on infectious diseases in the US is not well understood. Infectious disease outcomes could increase in the period following hurricane and flood events due to decreased access to clean water, lack of electricity and refrigeration of food, increased crowding and contact in shelter settings, etc. In this project, the disease outcomes of US veterans living in Texas and the flood status of their neighborhood after Hurricane Harvey are examined to determine if hurricane or flood exposure is associated with elevated outcomes of infectious diseases in veterans. Given the likelihood of increased hurricane activity and flood events in the coming decades, understanding how spatial patterns and rates of infectious disease outcomes are impacted by these natural hazards has critical implications for public health efforts in post-disaster settings.

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