Surveillance and Monitoring of Infectious Diseases
in San Antonio
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Speaker: Cherise J. Rohr-Allegrini, PhD, MPH
Public Health Preparedness
Metro Health District
Level of Knowledge: Basic
On August 30, 2005, San
Antonio began receiving evacuees from Hurricane
Katrina. By September 3, nearly 13,000 evacuees had passed through San Antonio shelters.
Upon arrival, each individual was offered Hepatitis A and tetanus vaccinations.
Approximately two weeks later, another 12,000 evacuees from Hurricane Rita
entered San Antonio
shelters. With the assistance of Epidemiology Field Officers from CDC, the San
Antonio Metro Health District (SAMHD) established a syndromic
surveillance system in each shelter. Health care services were maintained by
three providers: Barrio Comprehensive, CentroMed, and DMAT TX-1.
A Microsoft Access database was used to record each visit
by date, demographic information, chief complaint, and medical dispositions, which
was transmitted to SAMHD daily. The data were analyzed in SAS and Excel. The presence of health care services and syndromic surveillance provided the opportunity to
recognize and document any disease outbreak at this long-term shelter. Constant
vigilance allowed SAMHD to reassure a concerned community.
insight into methods used and practical considerations involved in
establishing a surveillance system
key elements of long-term shelter surveillance design and maintenance
usefulness in response to potential outbreaks of infectious disease