Infectious diseases following natural disasters: prevention and control measures

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2012 Jan;10(1):95-104. doi: 10.1586/eri.11.155.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / etiology
  • Cyclonic Storms
  • Disaster Planning
  • Disasters*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Disease Reservoirs*
  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Population Dynamics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Tornadoes
  • Tsunamis