The Ascel Bio Black Canyon Forecast Station has issued an infectious disease forecast for New York City / New Jersey post-Hurricane Sandy. The timing of this forecast release reflects the minimal period at which we would expect infectious disease transmission amplification post-disaster.
The national infectious disease forecast for November was released approximately one week ago. This is not specific to the post-hurricane disaster.
- Viruses: coronaviruses (non-SARS), parainfluenza, and influenza, with rhinovirus activity expected to recede. These virues are known to cause croup and trigger exacerbation of reactive airway / asthma in those susceptible. Occasionally, they can cause infection in the lungs, referred to as "pneumonia". The expected symptoms, which vary depending on age group and predisposing medical conditions, include:
- Runny nose with clear or green mucous
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes (“lumps”) on either side of the “wind pipe”
- Ear discomfort and infection
- Croup with a “seal-like barky cough”
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing and nighttime cough
- Fast breathing
- Upset stomach
- Difficulty eating / feeding
- Bacteria: Streptococcus (pharyngeal strains, also known as "Strep throat")
There have been claims of epidemic infectious disease spread by displaced rodents. This is not considered a credible assessment. We do not assess any disruptive infectious disease will be observed as a result of rodentborne transmission post-Sandy.
The foremost pathogen that may cause locally disruptive outbreaks would be influenza, transmitting in crowded emergency centers. We are not projecting a high probability of this occurring, however. The concern about influenza during this year, at this particular time is the following:
- We are in a drift year of A/H3N2 seasonal influenza
- We are early in the season for vaccinations, so high community coverage may or may not have been achieved prior to Sandy's arrival
In general, a large portion of the population affected are dispersed and not at school or work. So, this works against efficient transmission of many infectious diseases. Bottom line, we do not expect to see much post-hurricane disruption caused by infectious disease.