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close this bookThe Management of Nutrition in Major Emergencies (WHO - OMS, 2000, 250 p.)
close this folderChapter 6. Prevention, treatment, and control of communicable diseases
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsGeneral disease-prevention measures
Open this folder and view contentsHealth information system
Open this folder and view contentsImmunization - preventable diseases
Open this folder and view contentsPrevention and treatment of specific important diseases
View the documentIntegrated management of childhood illness
Open this folder and view contentsEnvironmental health


Infectious diseases and malnutrition are closely linked: malnourished populations are more susceptible to most infections, and the severity of illness and the mortality rates are worse. Moreover, infections can result in a borderline nutritional status becoming frank malnutrition, particularly in young children.

Measures to prevent infection are therefore of prime importance in both the prevention and management of nutritional emergencies. Preventive measures can be considered in the following major categories:

· general health programme coordination
· immunization programmes
· prevention of micronutrient deficiencies
· prevention and treatment of other specific important diseases
· environmental health measures.

General health measures include the coordination and integration of local and national health services in emergency areas; development and use of standardized procedures for prevention and treatment; and organization of disease surveillance and reporting.

Immunization programmes are particularly important. Most countries have established programmes of immunization against tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, and measles. Immunization against measles is crucial in emergencies. Other important communicable diseases are diarrhoeal and respiratory infections, malaria, and various febrile and parasitic diseases.

Environmental health measures include the provision of adequate shelter and living space, adequate and potable water supplies, washing facilities, safe food-handling, adequate latrines, and facilities for disposal of solid waste. Effective environmental health measures are among the best forms of insurance against most of the communicable diseases.