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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
May 3, 2006

Surveillance for Illness and Injury After Hurricane Katrina—Three Counties, Mississippi, September 5–October 11, 2005

JAMA. 2006;295(17):1994-1996. doi:10.1001/jama.295.17.1994

MMWR. 2006;55:231-234

2 figures omitted

Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, resulting in massive destruction from wind damage and storm surge. In Mississippi, the storm surge was an estimated 27 feet high at the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center and extended inland for 6-12 miles, causing extensive flooding in Biloxi and Gulfport and rendering approximately 80% of buildings in Waveland uninhabitable.1 The devastation was greatest in the coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson, where public infrastructure (e.g., electric power, communications networks, roads, sanitation systems, and water treatment plants) was severely disrupted. Multiple hospitals, health clinics, and public health facilities were either destroyed or nonfunctioning immediately after the hurricane. The Mississippi Department of Health (MDH) asked CDC to help conduct active surveillance at hospital emergency departments (EDs), federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT)* operation sites, and outpatient health-care facilities in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties. On September 4, a team of 17 CDC staff members was deployed to Mississippi to work with MDH and an Epi Strike Team from the Florida Department of Health to provide surveillance for injury and illness.2 This report describes those surveillance activities and their findings, which determined that no major outbreaks of infectious illnesses or clusters of preventable major injuries occurred after the hurricane. However, daily reports to MDH provided reassurance regarding outbreaks and data to help direct public health activities in the affected region.