This lesson discusses four major steps in communicable disease surveillance after disaster: (1) carrying out field investigation of rumors and reports of outbreaks of disease; (2) gaining access to laboratories to obtain definitive diagnoses and support for epidemiologic investigations; (3) presenting epidemiologic information to decision makers; and (4) guaranteeing surveillance during and after the recovery phase.
Become aware of the need to investigate rumors and reports of communicable disease outbreaks.
Recognize the importance of using laboratories in disaster situations.
Understand the importance of presenting epidemiologic information to decision makers.
Recognize the importance of surveillance during and after the recovery phase.
Read pages 41-52 in the manual.
Study, but do not memorize, Table 3 in the manual.
Study, but do not memorize, Annex 3 in the manual.
Note: Reference to Annex 3 is correct here. It ought to be corrected on page 50 in the manual.
Complete the Self-Assessment Test.
Lesson 4 - Self-Assessment Test
Circle the correct answer:
1. The likelihood of releasing mistaken or exaggerated information to the media will be diminished if:
a. seasoned health workers lead relief teams
b. there are briefings about the policy of dealing with the media
c. there is an open relationship between the media and the relief coordinator
d. all of the above
e. b and c
2. Rumors may be spread by:
a. relief headquarters staff
b. radio and other media
c. field relief workers
d. all of the above
e. b and c
Indicate T or F:
____3. Epidemiologic surveillance activities related to disasters should be phased out as soon as possible following a disaster and normal control efforts resumed.
____4. The national relief coordinator usually has full authority to institute epidemiologic control measures when they are required.
____5. Reporters often assume that information provided by a doctor or nurse on the scene is more accurate and reliable than that in releases from official sources.
____6. When the epidemiologist investigating a rumor encounters patients with symptoms compatible with the disease in question, it is usually not necessary to collect specimens for diagnosis.
____7. If the central epidemiologist is not satisfied with the field staff's ability to investigate a rumor, one or more epidemiologists should be sent to the field.
____8. The investigation of rumors requires specialized skills most epidemiologists do not have.
____9. Mistaken diagnosis of a communicable disease may be given because of lack of experience of the medical staff.
____10. In reporting epidemiologic information to higher authorities the epidemiologist should present the preferred solution in nontechnical terms, since the decision makers do not have the background knowledge to choose from a number of alternatives.
____11. Political issues and the nature of public outcry, rasher then public health priorities, often have determined the perceived severity of a rumor or report.