“Conditions after earthquake can cause infectious diseases”

The 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes, which centered in Kahramanmaraş on February 6 and occurred 9 hours apart, were recorded as the earthquakes that caused the most loss of life in the history of our country in 11 provinces and districts, including Şanlıurfa. associate Dr. Mehmet Reşat Ceylan warned.

Şanlıurfa Harran University Hospital, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Department of Clinical Microbiology Assoc. Dr. Mehmet Reşat Ceylan pointed out in his statement that the deteriorating environmental conditions since the first days of the earthquake and the physical and mental trauma suffered by the patients can cause many infectious diseases in the following days and even cause epidemics if enough precautions are taken. are not taken.

associate Dr. Mehmet Reşat Ceylan drew attention to the following: “Deaths and traumas develop in the first days after an earthquake. Although infectious diseases are not a cause of death in these acute periods at first, various infections can develop due to the deterioration of environmental conditions in the post-earthquake period, and disaster survivors may die from infection due to the earthquake.With the destruction of water and sewage networks, the mixing of clean and dirty water, as well as the damage to electricity and gas networks, lack of clean food and water promote the development of infection. Hygiene problems caused by the overcrowding in the post-earthquake camps can exacerbate these negative conditions. Various infectious diseases can occur.

Phase 1: During the earthquake (day 0-4): This is the period when those affected by the earthquake are rescued and initial treatment of disaster-related injuries is carried out. Infections can develop at the site of the injury.

Stage 2: Post-Earthquake (Days 4-30): This is the period when the first wave of infectious disease may occur. During this period food and/or water borne infections or droplet borne infections may be observed.

Stage 3: Healing and recovery period (more than 30 days): This is the period when infections with a long incubation period and latent (late, latent) infections may become apparent. In this period, infectious diseases, which were previously common in the disaster area, can cause epidemics among people.

In the acute period of improvement of living conditions after the earthquake, especially infections and / or epidemics are usually 4-30 after the earthquake. happen between days. During this process, earthquake zones and tent container cities must be kept under control.

Tetanus is one of the most important infections that can develop in people who have not been vaccinated or who have not been fully vaccinated. The tetanus vaccine should definitely be given to people injured from under the rubble and injured by contaminated soil or other material in this process.

Diarrheal outbreaks are among the most important water and foodborne infections arising due to the deterioration of sanitary conditions. Diarrhea was the leading cause of death in the relief camps where survivors stayed after natural disasters, and it was the cause of most deaths. Diarrhea outbreaks can generally develop in overcrowded camps where sanitary conditions are not fully met. It is expected that the layout of these camps should be well planned and that access to clean water should be good. However, reduced access to water due to damage to water networks and/or contamination of water by sewage is a major problem often encountered in disasters. This situation reduces the use of water and then diarrheal epidemics are seen. It has also been reported that there are also increases in cases of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis E after earthquakes, when sewerage collapses, or when there is a disturbance with wastewater discharge.

There may be an increase in diseases such as flu, COVID-19, measles and tuberculosis due to the contamination of respiratory agents due to the risks of crowded environments. Pneumonia (pneumonia) comes after diarrhea, especially in children under five who die after a disaster. Overcrowded camps, poor ventilation conditions, malnutrition and especially cold weather increase the risk of pneumonia. The fact that the COVID-19 epidemic is not over may cause an increase in the epidemic. Measles outbreaks can also be seen in earthquake victims who do not have a measles vaccine and are susceptible to measles.

Tuberculosis (TB) is another infection discovered after natural disasters. The cases especially in the late period are due to the victims moving to other regions after the earthquake, the difficulties in supplying the medicines they used before the earthquake after the earthquake, and the insufficiency of the health services can control the emergence of these cases. Scabies can also cause epidemics due to the deterioration of sanitary conditions and busy life, and represents a major health problem. Resettlement of disaster victims after natural disasters must be well planned. The location of the camps to be set up, their proximity to water resources, the distance of mobile toilets and bathrooms from these water resources must be well planned. In addition, infectious diseases that can be transmitted via water can be prevented by following hygiene rules in combination with the availability of clean water. In addition, ensuring sanitation is one of the important steps at this stage.”

Şanlıurfa Harran University Hospital Chief Physician Assoc. Dr. İdris Kırhan also made a statement on the subject, Head of Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology Assoc. Dr. While thanking Mehmet Reşat Ceylan, he stated that an important problem was mentioned that needs attention after the disaster.

Chief Physician Assoc. Dr. Kırhan said, “Hygiene is very important here, and it is necessary to be careful about hand hygiene. We should wash our hands with soap and water before and after eating, while preparing food, before and after toilet, or when there is visible contamination on the hands or after contact with an object that we believe may be infected with a surface. liquids such as cologne and wet wipes.”

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