( By A Study Guide (Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) )

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Lesson 1 - Risk factors for communicable diseases after disasters

Study Guide

This lesson discusses epidemiologic factors that may determine the potential transmission of communicable diseases after natural and manmade disasters. It also provides an account of postdisaster experience with communicable diseases.

Learning Objectives

Identify risk factors for communicable diseases after natural and manmade disasters in both developed and developing countries.

Gain an overall understanding of postdisaster experience with communicable diseases.

Learning Activities

Read pages 3-12 in the manual.

Study, but do not memorize, Table 1 in the manual.


Complete the Self-Assessment Test.


Lesson 1 - Self Assessment Test

Multiple Choice

Circle the correct answer:

1. Increased population density is a critical factor in the transmission of diseases spread by:

a. water
b. respiratory route
c. food
d. person-to-person contact
e. b and d


Indicate T or F:

____2. Improved vaccination programs after disasters will prevent the occurrence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

____3. In most of Latin America and the Caribbean, the classical diseases associated with disasters have declined or disappeared.

____4. In a village with no electric power and where there are promiscuous defecation habits and contaminated sources of water in normal times, an increased risk from communicable diseases is likely after a disaster.

____5. The lack of baseline surveillance data between disasters in developing countries makes no difference in confirming increases of certain diseases.

____6. The risk of a spread of communicable diseases after a disaster is about equal in developed and developing countries.

____7. Ecological changes due to a disaster may in some cases reduce the risk of the spread of communicable disease.

____8. Laboratory diagnostic facilities for detecting communicable diseases after disasters are not essential since the clinician or epidemiologist can easily diagnose most communicable diseases.

Answer Key

1. e

2. F

3. T

4. F

5. F

6. F

7. F

8. F

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