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COMMENT
Prevalent Gastroenteritis and Infection Control in a Shelter After Kumamoto Earthquake
1)Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Takatsuki Red Cross Hospital, 2)Department of Emergency and Cardiology, Takatsuki Red Cross Hospital
Kenichi GOTO1) & Fumio OKAMOTO2)
(Received September 21, 2016)
(Accepted June 30, 2017)
Key words: gastroenteritis, earthquake, infection control, norovirus, evacuation shelter
Abstract

During our medical rescue operation following the Kumamoto Earthquake which struck in April 2016, a number of victims exhibiting digestive symptom visited our first-aid clinic beside the Large-Scale Evacuation Shelter which was opened at a middle school in the northwest of Kumamoto prefecture. As some of the patients were diagnosed as having noroviral infection, we report herein on the time course and our intervention to prevent the infection spreading.

Notably, the number of patients with gastroenteritis increased rapidly (12 patients in one day), especially after heavy rainfall persisiting for a whole day, and at least one patient was confirmed as having noroviral infection. Therefore, we decided to conduct the interventions to prevent spread of infection, including: i) cleanup of the evacuees' dwelling space associated with regulations concerning outdoor shoes; ii) sterilizing all restrooms with sodium hypochlorite; iii) encouraging hand hygiene;and iv)isolating patients with diarrhea. Consequently, the number of patients gradually decreased.

According to the summarized data from April 16th to May 15th, 64 patients with diarrhea visited our aid station. Among them, more than 11 patients were tested with a rapid noroviral infection diagnosis kit, and two were positive. The mean incidence of infectious gastroenteritis per 1,000 evacuees was 5.8 person-days. We were able to control of infection in this shelter in a relatively short period. In conclusion, we should consider the early intervention to prevent the spread of infection, and furthermore, preparation beforehand of infection control manuals and medical supplies are extremely important.

[ Kansenshogaku Zasshi 91: 790-795, 2017 ]

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