A survey conducted immediately after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake: evaluation of infectious risks associated with sanitary conditions in evacuation centers

Koichi Tokuda, Hiroyuki Kunishima, Yoshiaki Gu, Shiro Endo, Masumitsu Hatta, Hajime Kanamori, Tetsuji Aoyagi, Noriomi Ishibashi, Shinya Inomata, Hisakazu Yano, Miho Kitagawa, Mitsuo Kaku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In cooperation with the Miyagi prefectural government, we conducted a survey of the management of sanitation at evacuation centers and the health of the evacuees by visiting 324 evacuation centers at two weeks after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The facilities often used as evacuation centers were community centers (36%), schools (32.7%) and Nursing homes (10.2%). It was more difficult to maintain a distance of at least 1 m between evacuees at the evacuation centers with a larger number of residents. At evacuation centers where the water supply was not restored, hygienic handling of food and the hand hygiene of the cooks were less than adequate. Among evacuation centers with ≤50 evacuees, there was a significant difference in the prevalence rate of digestive symptoms between the centers with and without persons in charge of health matters (0.3% vs. 2.1%, respectively, p < 0.001). The following three factors had an important influence on the level of sanitation at evacuation centers and the health of evacuees: 1) the size of the evacuation center, 2) the status of the water supply, and 3) the allocation of persons in charge of health matters. Given that adjusting the number of evacuees to fit the size of the evacuation center and prompt restoration of the water supply are difficult to achieve immediately after an earthquake, promptly placing persons in charge of health matters at evacuation centers is a practicable and effective measure, and allocation of at least one such person per 50 evacuees is desirable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-501
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of infection and chemotherapy : official journal of the Japan Society of Chemotherapy
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug 1

Keywords

  • Evacuation centers
  • Infectious diseases
  • Interview survey
  • Sanitation
  • The Great East Japan Earthquake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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