Pan American Health Organization urges countries to increase disease surveillance after floods




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Posted: Monday, February 28, 2022. 10:15 p.m. CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is urging countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to step up their post-flood surveillance efforts to quickly identify and control outbreaks with serious public health implications.

On Friday, February 25, PAHO issued new guidance in an epidemiological alert on “post-flood public health events in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and the organization noted that there are already had heavy rains in the region which caused severe flooding in a number of countries including Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

PAHO said common health events after floods and landslides include acute diarrheal disease and leptospirosis infections due to exposure to contaminated water and expressed concern that the The ongoing La Niña weather phenomenon could keep the rains going until March, putting further strain on already strained health systems. due to COVID-19.

“Floods and landslides can disrupt water supplies and sewage systems, contaminate crops and food, and displace people into makeshift shelters, where they face overcrowding, poor sanitation and other risk factors,” PAHO said. Infection prevention and control measures are essential in these shelters to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 and other outbreaks.

Among the recommendations, PAHO urged countries to put in place early warning and response systems (EWARS) to detect outbreaks and health events that require an immediate response, stressing that it can save lives. PAHO explained that EWARS should include information such as disease surveillance, community surveillance, environmental and ecological observations, and health-related behavioral information such as drug and product sales.

Other recommendations include that local authorities establish and implement continuous monitoring systems for water quality for human consumption and food preparation, and provide safe water in sufficient quantities and adequate information. to the populations.

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