|Natural Disasters - Protecting the Public's Health (PAHO-OPS, 2000, 133 p.)|
|Chapter 7. Epidemiologic Surveillance and Disease Control|
Displacement of domesticated and wild animals increases the risk of transmission of zoonoses, and veterinary and animal health services may be needed to evaluate such health risks. Epidemiologic identification/characterization of zoonoses is critical in evaluating the risks of occurrence of these diseases in areas affected by natural disasters. It is also essential to establish surveillance mechanisms to prevent human cases or outbreaks.
Dogs, cats, and other domestic animals frequently are taken by their owners to or near temporary shelters. Some of these animals are reservoirs of infections such as leptospirosis, rickettsioses, and bubonic plague, which can be transmitted through their excrement and urine or through ectoparasites, contaminating water and food.
Wild animals are reservoirs of infections that can be fatal to man. In searching for food and safety in the aftermath of a natural disaster, wild animals will come closer to affected communities, increasing the chance of transmission of illnesses such as hemorrhagic fever syndrome from the Hantavirus, hemmorhagic arboviruses, equine encephalitis, rabies, and infections still unknown in humans.