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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


ARCOS GONZALEZ, Pedro Ignacio; CASTRO DELGADO, Rafael  and  BUSTO PRADO, Francisco del. Disasters and public health: an approach based on the theoretical framework of epidemiology. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.76, n.2, pp.121-132. ISSN 2173-9110.

Throughout the1990-2000 period, disasters (catastrophes) caused an average of 75,000 deaths yearly, injuring an average of 256 million people a year and causing economic losses totaling more than 650 billion euros. The magnitude of this problem, its impact on public health and on the degree of development of the populations involved are of such major importance as to warrant special interest from the public health standpoint, especially as a result of what are known as complex emergencies. The objective of this study is that of reviewing the definitions, the main concepts and the basic characteristics of disaster epidemiology. An analysis is also made of the risk factors involved in disasters, the impacts on public health of the main types of disasters and the main preventive strategies in terms of the different stages of the disaster cycle.

Keywords : Disasters; Public Health; Emergencies.

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