Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast in August of 2017, causing record flooding and displacing tens of thousands of Harris County residents. Just one month later, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida leading to nearly 80,000 people across the state staying in emergency shelters. In the wake of these disasters, shelters were set up to care for residents displaced by the storms and their after-effects. Robust surveillance to monitor for infectious disease threats and ensure the safety of shelter residents was critical, particularly because infections can spread very quickly in shelter settings where individuals are living in close quarters. During this webinar, participants heard from the Florida Department of Health and Harris County Public Health regarding their unique response experiences. Speakers:
- Discussed post-hurricane public health surveillance activities related to disease identification and control in a large evacuation shelter;
- Described communication strategies for shared situational awareness between state and local health department staff;
- Identified potential challenges and complications related to surveillance in shelter settings and propose strategies to overcome them; and
- Compared two local health departments’ experiences with identifying infectious diseases and outbreaks in shelters and implementing effective control measures to prevent further spread of illness.