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Hurricane Katrina Response and Guidance for Health-Care Providers, Relief Workers, and Shelter Operators

Hurricane Katrina struck the coastal areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi on August 29, 2005, causing substantial numbers of deaths among both humans and animals, infrastructure damage, and flooding. Affected areas continue to experience shortages of essential services, including electricity, potable water, food, and fuel; damage to health-care and public health systems; and disrupted communications. CDC/ATSDR, local and state health departments, other federal agencies, and other partners are supporting public health and medical-care functions for persons in affected areas and those displaced as a result of the hurricane.

As of September 7, 2005, CDC/ATSDR had deployed 182 members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officers, and federal civilian personnel to provide technical support and additional personnel for critical public health functions (e.g., public health needs assessment; disease surveillance; laboratory support; prevention and control of infectious diseases, including foodborne, waterborne, and vectorborne diseases; mental health services; sanitation and water quality; chemical-exposure management; and injury prevention and control).

To protect the public health and safety during recovery operations, CDC has provided multiple sets of guidelines, available at These include guidelines of particular interest to health-care providers, relief workers, and shelter operators. Hurricane-Related Information for Health-Care Professionals ( includes guidelines for managing acute diarrhea and guidance related to immunizations and vaccine storage. Worker Safety During Hurricane Cleanup ( includes health recommendations for relief workers and guidance on worker safety during a power outage. Hurricane Katrina Information for Shelters ( includes guidance on infection control for community shelters and key facts regarding infectious diseases.

In addition, a new compilation, Natural Disasters, has been added to the M Guide Online Knowledge Centers at the MMWR website ( The M Guide provides Internet links to previously published MMWR reports regarding assessment of health needs and surveillance of morbidity and mortality after hurricanes, floods, and the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

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