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Climate change is expected to cause extensive shifts in the epidemiology of infectious and vector-borne diseases. Scenarios on the effects of climate change typically attribute altered distribution of communicable diseases to a rise in average temperature and altered incidence of infectious diseases to weather extremes.
Recent evaluations of the effects of climate change on Hawaii have not explored this link. It may be expected that Hawaii’s natural geography and robust water, sanitation, and health care infrastructure renders residents less vulnerable to many threats that are the focus on smaller, lesser developed, and more vulnerable Pacific islands. In addition, Hawaii’s communicable disease surveillance and response system can act rapidly to counter increases in any disease above baseline and to redirect resources to deal with changes, particularly outbreaks due to exotic pathogens.
The evidence base examined in this article consistently revealed very low climate sensitivity with respect to infectious and mosquito-borne diseases.
A community resilience model is recommended to increase adaptive capacity for all possible climate change impacts rather an approach that focuses specifically on communicable diseases. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:797–804)
During the May 2016 World Health Assembly of 194 member states, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the process of developing and launching emergency medical teams as a critical component of the global health workforce concept. Over 64 countries have either launched or are in the development stages of vetting accredited teams, both international and national, to provide surge support to national health systems through WHO Regional Organizations and the delivery of emergency clinical care to sudden-onset disasters and outbreak-affected populations. To date, the United States has not yet committed to adopting the emergency medical team concept in funding and registering an international field hospital level team. This article discusses future options available for health-related nongovernmental organizations and the required educational and training requirements for health care provider accreditation. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:531–535)
The current humanitarian crisis in Yemen is unprecedented in many ways. The Yemeni War tragedy is symptomatic of gross failures to recognize, by combatants, existing humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention that have become the new norm in unconventional armed conflicts and are increasingly replicated in Africa, Afghanistan, and other areas of the Middle East with dire consequences on aid workers and the noncombatant population. The health and humanitarian professions must take collective responsibility in calling for all belligerent parties to cease the massacre and commit to guaranteed medical assistance, humanitarian aid, and the free flow of information and respect for the humanitarian principles that protect the neutrality and impartiality of the humanitarian workforce. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;page 1 of 3)
We aimed to explore how perceived safety after terrorism is connected to views on security measures and emergency preparedness in a workplace setting.
Using a questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study of ministerial employees in Norway who were targeted in a terrorist attack in 2011 (n=3344), we investigated how employees’ perceived safety at work 9 to 10 months after the attack was associated with their perceptions of whether security measures were sufficiently prioritized at work, whether there had been sufficient escape and evacuation training, and whether they were confident with evacuation procedures.
We found strong evidence of increasing perceived safety at work the more employees believed security measures were sufficiently prioritized at work (partially confounded by post-traumatic stress disorder), and the better their knowledge of evacuation procedures (modified by gender and education).
The present study suggests that employers may enhance perceived safety at work for terror-exposed employees by showing a commitment to security measures and by ensuring employees know evacuation procedures well. More research is needed to investigate causality patterns behind the associations found in this cross-sectional study. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:805–811)
In January 2016, the World Health Organization warned that Zika virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas and that up to 4 million infections could be present worldwide within a year. Soon thereafter, some politicians and authors publicly advocated for quarantine of travelers returning from regions where mosquitoes carrying Zika virus are prevalent. The public health tool of quarantine can be used to prevent the spread of infection by restricting the movement of persons who have been exposed to a deadly disease that can be transmitted from person to person before symptom onset. With 80% of Zika virus infections being asymptomatic, no rapid test being available to detect the virus, and primary transmission being via the bites of certain mosquitoes, application of quarantine in this setting is not scientifically sound or practically feasible. Rather, public health interventions should focus on preventing bites from infected mosquitoes, counseling pregnant women on the risks of fetal microcephaly and other birth defects, and identifying patients with signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome. As was seen in the Ebola virus disease outbreak of 2014, non-evidence-based factors can influence policy decisions. Public health experts must ensure that policy makers are informed that quarantine is not a scientifically sound approach for the control of Zika virus. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;0:1–3)