“Outbreaks can occur in periods of 4 days to 4 weeks”

After the earthquake, earthquake victims now face the increasing risk of infectious diseases and even epidemics. These diseases are likely to spread quickly in public living areas such as tents and container cities. Infectious diseases specialist Prof. Dr. Kıvanç Şerefhanoğlu said that highly contagious infectious diseases can occur within 4 days to 4 weeks after the earthquake. Şerefhanoğlu also pointed out that there is an increase in the frequency of some infectious diseases in the region and provided information on the measures that can be taken under the current circumstances.

Planning of collective living spaces is important in preventing epidemics.

Stating that it is essential to provide bottled water and dispose of feces and waste under proper conditions, Prof. Dr. Kıvanç Şerefhanoğlu stated that the greatest risk in the region stems from the inadequacy of personal toilets and said that the number of portable toilets should be raised. Dr. Kıvanç Şerefhanoğlu said, “If possible, attention should be paid to the settlement planning in a way of 4 to 5.5 m2 per person. A large number of shelters must be provided to avoid overcrowding. It is very important to increase the number of tents, hotels, containers and guest houses that will be protected,” and mentioned the things to be considered in public living areas. Kıvanç Şerefhanoğlu also appealed to citizens to bring aid to the region and advised to give priority to personal protection and hygiene materials, such as sufficient gloves, masks and disinfectant soap Dr. Şerefhanoğlu stated that it is necessary to fight against flies and rodents, which are effective in the spread of epidemic diseases, and noted that it is important to have insecticides and repellent medicines, to control rodents, to apply necessary pesticides in public living areas, and a lot of work falls on the health teams. Serefhanoğlu; “It is vital that the infections that occur in earthquake victims are monitored by the health teams and treated quickly,” he said.

“Conduit on the rise among earthquake victims”

Kıvanç Şerefhanoğlu, who drew attention to the increasing incidence of tuberculosis among earthquake victims, stated that poor living conditions, overcrowded settlements, excessive fatigue and stress, difficulties in diagnosis increase the risk of tuberculosis among earthquake victims, especially young children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases are at risk. Şerefhanoğlu also provided information about other infectious diseases that are common after the earthquake.

Pay attention to respiratory and foodborne illnesses

Speaking of respiratory diseases that can occur in the region, Dr. Kivanc Sereafhanoglu; “Anxiety, flu, sinusitis, pharyngitis and pneumonia are common after an earthquake. The people affected by the earthquake live in crowded conditions in poorly ventilated environments, paving the way for these respiratory infections. Also noting that water and food borne illnesses can be seen, Dr. Serefhanoğlu; “Infections through water and food occur when water and food are contaminated with pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites) that come from human or animal feces. Diarrhoea, dysentery, nausea, vomiting, hepatitis A and E are water and foodborne infections whose frequency increases after earthquakes. Hot air, lack of access to clean water, the inability to store food in suitable conditions (such as no refrigerator) and deterioration of sewage infrastructure pave the way for these infections and can lead to epidemics. In these patients, diarrhea and dysentery are often caused by shigella, salmonella, giardia, cholera and rotavirus, and hepatitis by hepatitis A and E viruses.

“Deterioration of sanitary conditions can cause health problems”

Kıvanç Şerafhanoğlu, who also gave information about the diseases that can occur if the tent cities and shelters in the region are not cleaned; “Vector-borne infections are infections transmitted through the bite of an arthropod such as a mosquito, fly, tick or mite. Typhoid, malaria, oriental boil are among these infections. Deterioration of infrastructure and increase in rodent populations such as mice are among the main reasons. Emphasizing that another type of disease that can be seen in the region can be skin and wound related diseases, Şerefhanoğlu said; “Skin and wound infections occur in areas of injury and trauma to the body that occurred in an earthquake. These infections are often caused by various bacteria. Wound infections can be serious and lead to loss of organs and lives. Tetanus is a significant threat to people suffering from gas gangrene earthquake injuries. Scabies can also cause epidemics due to the deterioration of sanitary conditions and busy life, and it is an important health problem.

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