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Shelter crowding and increased incidence of acute respiratory infection in evacuees following the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and tsunami

  • T. KAWANO (a1), Y. TSUGAWA (a2), K. NISHIYAMA (a3), H. MORITA (a1), O. YAMAMURA (a4) and K. HASEGAWA (a5)...

Summary

Although outbreaks of acute respiratory infection (ARI) at shelters are hypothesized to be associated with shelter crowding, no studies have examined this relationship. We conducted a retrospective study by reviewing medical records of evacuees presenting to one of the 37 clinics at the shelters in Ishinomaki city, Japan, during the 3-week period after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011. On the basis of a locally weighted scatter-plot smoothing technique, we categorized 37 shelters into crowded (mean space <5·5 m2/per person) and non-crowded (⩾5·5 m2) shelters. Outcomes of interest were the cumulative and daily incidence rate of ARI/10 000 evacuees at each shelter. We found that the crowded shelters had a higher median cumulative incidence rate of ARI [5·4/10 000 person-days, interquartile range (IQR) 0–24·6, P = 0·04] compared to the non-crowded shelters (3·5/10 000 person-days, IQR 0–8·7) using Mann–Whitney U test. Similarly, the crowded shelters had an increased daily incidence rate of ARI of 19·1/10 000 person-days (95% confidence interval 5·9–32·4, P < 0·01) compared to the non-crowded shelters using quasi-least squares method. In sum, shelter crowding was associated with an increased incidence rate of ARI after the natural disaster.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Author for correspondence: Dr T. Kawano, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Fukui Hospital, Matsuoka Shimoaigetsu 23-3, Heiheiji town, Yoshida county, Fukui prefecture, Japan. (Email: kawano@u-fukui.ac.jp)

References

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