BioScience Trends. 2013;7(6):294-295. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2013.v7.6.294)
Call for action for setting up an infectious disease control action plan for disaster area activities: Learning from the experience of checking suffering volunteers in the field after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Takahashi K, Kodama M, Kanda H
After the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th, 2011, a journalist visited the disaster area with febrile symptoms and was diagnosed with measles of the D genotype, which is not indigenous to Japan. After continuing activities in disaster areas and Tokyo, 11 measles cases were reported, some of which were identified as genotype D. Meanwhile non-profit activities directed towards volunteers were offered including interviews to screen for subjective symptoms, check body temperature and advise volunteers to refrain from working in shelter areas during the period of sickness. As a consequence, disease transmission was controlled among volunteers. In disaster areas, anyone can be an infection vector. In order to prevent transmission of infectious diseases, a field action plan, which includes body temperature checks and standard precautions should be formulated and put into place. If the action plans are shared among local governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), they can become a norm and be expected to control infectious disease transmission.