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Short-term health impact assessment after Irma in French islands


In Saint-Martin (31 949 inhabitants) and Saint-Barthelemy (9 625 inhabitants) islands in the French West Indies, the surveillance system is based on several data sources: (1) a syndromic surveillance system based on two emergency departments (ED) of Saint-Barthellemy (HL de Bruyn) and Saint-Martin (CH Fleming) and on mortality (SurSaUD® network [1])); (2) a network of sentinel general practitioners (GP'™s) based on the voluntary participation of 10 GPs in Saint-Martin and 5 in Saint-Barthelemy; (3) the notifiable diseases surveillance system (31 notifiable diseases to individual case-specific form); (4) the regional surveillance systems of leptospirosis and arboviruses based on the biological cases reported by physicians and laboratories of two islands. On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma struck Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy islands. Both islands were massively destroyed. This storm led to major material damages, such as power outages, disturbance of drinking water systems, road closures, destruction of medical structures and evacuation or relocation of residents. In this context, the usual monitoring system did not work and life conditions were difficult. The regional unit of French National Public Health Agency set up an epidemiological surveillance by sending epidemiologists in the field in order to collect data directly from ED physicians, GP's and in dispensaries. Those data allowed to describe short-term health effects and to detect potential disease outbreaks in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. This paper presents results of the specific syndromic surveillance.

Objective: Describe short-term health effects of the Hurricane using the syndromic surveillance system based on emergency departments, general practitioners and dispensaries in Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy islands from September 11, 2017 to October 29, 2017.

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