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close this bookDisaster Reports : The Effects of Hurricane David. 1979, on the Population of Dominica (PAHO)
close this folder3. Results
View the document3.1. Response
View the document3.2. The population sample
Open this folder and view contents3.3. Socio-economic overview
Open this folder and view contents3.4. Injuries
View the document3.5. Pregnancy
View the document3.6 Communicable diseases

3.6 Communicable diseases

Following the hurricane, there was an island-wide campaign against typhoid fever It is thought that roughly 20,000 doses of vaccine were used.

Laboratory findings

The laboratory records for the months following the disaster were compared with the records for the previous three years The criterion was the number of new cases reported as having positive stool cultures (Figure 6).

It should be pointed out that there was only one laboratory on the [eland, at the central hospital, and that the laboratory staff were the same both before and after the disaster Following the hurricane an increased number of patients came for checking and since there was an increased expectation of a disease outbreak, stool samples were probably examined especially carefully.

There was no evidence of any increase in typhoid fever in the months following hurricane David (See Figure 6) There were far fewer cases than in the outbreak of 1978.

On the other hand, there WAS a clear outbreak of bacillary dysentery, which peaked in the second and third months after the disaster (See Figure 7) This might have been associated with the destruction and slow repair of latrines together with an increase in the number of flies which was frequently reported in the months following the out-break

Figure 6: Incidence of Reported New Cases of Salmonella Typhi

Figure 7: Incidence of Reported New Cases of Dysentery

Our preliminary survey results indicate that "diarrhea cases" occurred in 90 (7.3 %) households. One hundred and seventy people (2.8 % of the surveyed population) were affected. Eighty per cent of these cases occurred during the first three months following the hurricane. This parallels, and thus rents support to, laboratory findings for dysentery.