5.1. Detection and control of communicable diseases

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The objectives of epidemiological surveillance in disaster situations are to:

  • Evaluate the magnitude of the health impact caused by the disaster.
  • Identify the principal health problems (hazards and risks) of the affected population and monitor trends.
  • Identify vulnerable or at-risk groups.
  • Detect changes in hygienic practices.
  • Early detection of outbreaks or epidemics.
  • Adapt existing resources to handle the emergency, and reestablish the health services network.
  • Propose prevention and control measures to address the needs and problems detected.
  • Identify needs for investigation.

In addition, surveillance should help to evaluate living conditions by pointing to tracer environmental and social repercussions and improve the effectiveness of health services response to the disaster.