CDC makes recommendations for combating infection after disasters

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 25, 2008

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To reduce the chance that preventing infectious disease will get lost in the chaos of a mass casualty event, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published recommendations on the subject in the July 31 issue of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness and the Aug. 1 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"Diseases and bacteria that cause disability and death such as hepatitis B and tetanus can be prevented by vaccines that are safe, effective and widely available," said James J. James, MD, DrPH, MHA, director of the American Medical Association's Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response. He is also editor-in-chief of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, an AMA publication.

Those with open wounds should receive shots against hepatitis B and tetanus if they have not received them previously or if their vaccination history is not known. In addition, testing ought to be considered for hepatitis C. Those whose mucous membranes have been in contact with possibly contaminated body fluid should receive the hepatitis B immunization. Postexposure prophylaxis against HIV is unnecessary in most situations.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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