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Health registers as a tool for disaster epidemiology 

Health registers as a tool for disaster epidemiology
Health registers as a tool for disaster epidemiology

Oliver Morgan

and Sue Odams

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date: 10 December 2018

The use of health registers following disasters is an evolving method in the disaster epidemiology toolbox. Collecting information about individuals exposed to a disaster sounds simple. However, considerable resources are needed to collect information in a timely manner, from many different sources and manage it appropriately. In addition to providing essential descriptive epidemiology about the affected population, health registers can be used for analytical epidemiology, including follow-up studies that may provide insights into the health effects of exposures and disasters. In the case of the Enschede fireworks disaster, studies have been conducted on the health of rescue workers using sick leave data, post-traumatic stress disorder among ambulance personnel, and, for the wider population, whether gender and age were disaster-related risk factors. These have helped to improve the understanding of people’s physical and mental reactions to disasters and thus improve provision of health care in disaster situations.

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