Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A paper worth reading!

Information Seeking Behavior and Viewpoints of Emergency Preparedness and management professionals concerned with Health and Medicine

Final Report

Prepared for the National Library of Medicine

By Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz

March 6, 2008

Executive Summary

A study for the National Library of Medicine (NLM) was conducted to assess the information requirements for health-related issues in emergency preparedness and response. The overall goal of the study was to identify the views of potential users about the most significant knowledge, information, and services they are seeking, some of which might be incorporated into the development of the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) planned by the National Library of Medicine or into other related efforts.

The emphasis of the study was on determining the current information seeking behavior, existing preferred sources of information, and unmet information needs of professionals involved with the medical and public health aspects of emergency planning, preparedness, and response. The report summarizes responses to questions around the following topics: current sources, desired sources, organizing the information, examples of important materials and missing materials on the Web, librarian roles, information needs in extreme events, methods for dealing with information overload and organizing information, international issues, and level of experience with NLM resources. Detailed appendices include examples of grass roots efforts to mitigate information overload, a copy of the self report guide, a complete compilation of responses organized by type of respondent, and a list of international websites compiled by one of the respondents.

The study results address a full range of information needs, including the formal published literature, comprehensive databases for the management of specific types of disasters, practice-based documents that are typical of the gray literature, aids to developing and maintaining practitioner documents, and improved methods of organizing information of all types. Roles for librarians as well as disaster community experts were identified for enhancing access to important information at the time it is needed. Continued

Elementary Students Prepare for Weather Disasters

Severe weather season will soon be upon us and kids in the Kearney area will soon be a little more prepared to plan for it.

The Kearney Fire Department's safety trailer was on hand today as students from Bryant Elementary learned about severe weather. Firefighters taught students what to do when a tornado strikes as well as how to plan for a weather disaster.

The trailer will visit every school in Kearney before severe weather week April 5th through the 9th.

Disasters - Preparedness and Mitigation in the Americas Mar 2008

Peru Rebuilds Health Services Affected by the 2007 Earthquake

PAHO/WHO, with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), are supporting Peru's Ministry of Health and regional authorities with the health needs resulting from the earthquake of 15 August 2007 in Ica.

The project encompasses the construction of a maternal and child center in Pisco; recovery of services in the primary health network of Ica and Huancavelica; strengthening technical capacity for the epidemiologic surveillance system; improving the regional public health laboratory; and increasing coordination for disaster and emergency response among different sectors at the national, regional, and local levels by setting up Emergency Operations Centers and developing technical capacity.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake, which affected several provinces, killing 519 people, injuring 1,366, and affecting 863,597 people. The public and social security health networks suffered considerable damage. According to official reports, 11 facilities were completely destroyed and 111 suffered different levels of damage. The 110-bed San Juan de Dios hospital was the most severely impacted. In addition to the health services, Pisco's water and sewerage systems were severely affected. There are major diffi culties in the process of latrine construction and supply of safe water, both in terms of quantity and quality. The management of solid waste, surveillance of food management, and proliferation of harmful fauna continue to be matters of concern.

For more information on progress in restoring health services in this area, contact Dr. José Luis Zeballos,at jzeballo@per.ops-oms.org.

Yellow Fever Outbreaks in the Americas

Yellow fever, commonly found in the tropical regions of South America and Africa, has two epidemiological cycles: jungle and urban. In the jungle cycle, the virus circulates in the primate population and humans are infected when they enter the jungle and are bitten by infected mosquitoes. Urban yellow fever was eradicated from the Americas (the last cases occurred in 1942 in Brazil). In mid-January of this year, Paraguayan health authorities detected an outbreak of jungle yellow fever.

The clinical manifestations of yellow fever virus infection are acute fever and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), followed by hemorrhage in 15% to 25% of infected patients. Case fatality can reach 50%.

Since the 1970s jungle yellow fever cases were limited to the northern region of South America. Between 1985 and December 2007, a total of 3,837 cases of jungle yellow fever and 2,229 deaths were reported.

In 2007 and at the beginning of 2008, six states in Brazil (Goias, Federal District, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Tocantins, and São Paulo) recorded an intense and extensive increase in epizootic yellow fever. These outbreaks of the disease in animal populations were confirmed by laboratory and/or by clinical-epidemiological criteria through the State Health Secretariats. In January and February 2008, human cases were reported in three states (Goias, Mato Grosso do Sul, and the Federal District); of the 26 confirmed cases, there were 13 deaths. While the affected areas have high vaccination coverage, health authorities intensified vaccination campaigns for individuals over six months of age who had not been immunized previously and/or reside in/or frequent affected areas.

As of 21 February 2008, seven cases of yellow fever had been confirmed in Paraguay, all inthe rural area of San Pedro Department, about 300 km northeast of Asunción, the capital. Five other suspected cases were reported in Central Department, which neighbors Asunción; four of these cases died with signs and symptoms highly suggestive of yellow fever. If these cases are confirmed, it would validate the circulation of the virus in urban areas.

In response to these outbreaks, the authorities have expanded epidemiologic surveillance for the detection and testing of suspected cases. Yellow fever vaccination has been intensified in Asunción, Central and San Pedro departments, and in border areas in order to protect the population living in high-risk areas.

To achieve this level of coverage, approximately 3 million doses of vaccine are needed. Thanks to the support of PAHO/WHO, 850,000 doses are being sent from Brazil, 144,000 from Peru, and 2 million doses from the WHO Global Fund. With the support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID), the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA/USAID), and the Government of Italy, PAHO/ WHO has been able to implement emergency projects to intensify epidemiologic surveillance and vector control, increase laboratory diagnosis, expand communications about the risk, and carry out vaccinations in at-risk areas.

In Argentina, authorities reported that on 17 January 2008 dead monkeys were found in Piñalito park, in the department of San Pedro, province of Misiones. In February, yellow fever was confirmed in one of the primates through molecular techniques. Despite the high vaccination coverage in the area, authorities have intensified vaccination activities for previously unimmunized individuals who reside in or travel to the area.

Currently, the recommended yellow fever vaccination strategy is to direct efforts at the population that lives in, or is traveling to the areas where epizootics or human cases were recently registered and where risk of transmission exists. This approach avoids indiscriminate mass vaccination or revaccination.

PAHO/WHO is providing technical support through advisers from country offices and headquarters, in accordance with requests from the countries.

For more information, write to ugarteci@paho.org. In addition, the publications Control of Yellow Fever—Field Guide and Zoonoses and Communicable Diseases Common to Man and Animal, 3rd edition, can be consulted at http://publications.paho.org.

Floods: History Repeats Itself in Bolivia

The heavy rains produced by the La Niña phenomenon have left nine Bolivian departments under water. Flooding in Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosí, Santa Cruz, and Tarija have affected 73,776 families and caused 63 deaths. The most affected areas are Trinidad, capital of the department of Beni (with 20,000 affected families) and the department of Santa Cruz (19,818 affected).

The floods reveal once more how vulnerable the population is to chronic hydrometeorologic disasters. There continue to be deficiencies in managing nutritional requirements and shelters and in gathering health information in remote areas.

Since November 2007, Bolivia has suffered from climatological phenomena that, according to experts, are more severe than those caused by El Niño at the beginning of 2007. The World Food Program (WFP) has reported that 80% of the people who suffered from floods in early 2007, suffered again with the recent heavy rains. The flooding has increased the risk of epidemics and there have been reports of cases of dengue, yellow fever, hemorrhagic dengue, hanta virus, malaria, conjunctivitis, diarrheal diseases, leptospirosis, and respiratory diseases.

PAHO/WHO has concentrated its efforts on coordinating disaster response in the areas of international cooperation, epidemiologic surveillance, vector control, mental health care, logistical support, and resource mobilization.

For more information, write to cgarzon@ecu.ops-oms.org

Investigating Weather Systems in the Montessori Classroom

North Carolina is in a severe drought. Currently, we are short approximately 10.5 inches of rain for the past two years. Severe water restrictions are in effect and hearing that neighboring towns have less than 100 days of water left is a frequent occurrence. That being said, we are entering our rainy spring season which also brings months of tornado warnings. Naturally curious, children want to know what causes weather, especially severe weather.

The Montessori classroom is a great place for children to learn, explore, and research naturally occurring phenomenon such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornados. These concepts are usually introduced during the upper elementary years. Here, in North Carolina, we experience both hurricanes and tornados and this is enough to spur discussion and interest. If you live someplace where these weather systems do not occur, you can peak student interest by announcing that there are approximately 40,000 thunderstorms around the globe each day and that the class will have an opportunity to investigate how thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornados form.

Before presenting these lessons to the children, it is important to have illustrative charts made of sea and land breezes, cold fronts, and warm fronts, as well as a map of high and low pressure systems and a variety of photographs (or video) of thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornados. There is also a variety of vocabulary that needs to be explained before children can begin their investigations.

  • Sea breeze
  • Land breeze
  • Cold front
  • Warm front
  • High pressure system
  • Low pressure system
  • Convection
  • Coriolis effect

It may be helpful to watch the weather reports together over a period of several days in order to discuss and understand the terminology. You might also gather the weather report over a period of about two weeks and make predictions as a class as to what weather will be developing.

For more information for teachers, visit the National Hurricane Center website.

For informative, interactive games for students, visit Federal Emergency Management Agency website.

NAMC’s Upper Elementary Physical Geography curriculum manual provides background information and presentations on many weather related topics, including: Weather Systems and Weather Maps, Investigating Hurricanes and Thunderstorms, and Investigating Cold and Warm Fronts.


When disaster strikes, strike back.

Preparing yourself for a natural disaster is not as difficult as it may seem.

Rich Gallati, operations manager for the DeKalb chapter of the American Red Cross, said there are three actions to take to be prepared for an emergency.

“What we’d recommend is to first get a first–aid kit and some first–aid training,” Gallati said. “Second, make an evacuation plan from where you are working or living, and the third step is to be informed.”

The American Red Cross offers numerous items for emergency preparedness.
These items include, but are not limited to: flashlights, AM/FM radio, emergency blankets and particle masks, as well as adult and youth comfort kits that include hygiene items. The youth comfort kit has crayons and a coloring book, as well as hygiene items. “The Illinois Department of Health does not do anything different from season to season,” said Melaney Arnold, with the Department of Health.


UK – update re wreck of MSC NAPOLI

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a Press Notice regarding the wreck of the MSC NAPOLI. In May, the salvor is scheduled to commence the breakup and removal of the remaining portion of the stern section. Work is expected to take approximately five months. (3/27/08).

Ships continue on way after collision in Mackinaw Straits; No pollution or spills reported

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to probe a collision that occurred Friday when a freighter went to the assistance of another vessel mired in ice in the Straits of Mackinaw.

Both the Cason J. Calloway and the American Republic were damaged, but neither took on water, Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie reported.

Marine inspectors checked both ships, and they were allowed to continue their voyages Saturday morning, said command duty officer Keith West.

The 767-foot Calloway, a USS Great Lakes Fleet self-unloader, travelled to Gary, Ind. for repairs and to unload its cargo of iron ore.

The Republic, a 634-foot self-unloading bulk freighter, owned by American Steamship Co., headed to Sturgeon Bay, Wis. to be repaired. The collision occurred about 3:40 p.m. when the Calloway was trying to assist the Republic, which was caught in the ice, about 15 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge.

The Calloway attempted to clear the ice impeding the other vessel when it sheered in the ice and made contact with the Republic.

Both freighters were damaged on the starboard side of their forward peaks.

No pollution or spills were reported, West said on Sunday.

A helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City surveyed the collision site Friday and confirmed there was no sign of pollution

Ice congestion in the Straits, which connects Lakes Huron and Michigan, 87 kilometres south of Sault Ste. Marie, is heavy.

"Depending where you are at, it's a couple of inches to 18 inches of ice,'' said West, who indicated there wasn't much shipping traffic in the Straits Sunday.