Honors College Thesis


Community Risk Factors for Post-Hurricane Disease Public Deposited

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  • This thesis explores interrelationships between the geographical impact of recent hurricanes, rates of giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis in impacted communities, and effects of hurricanes on local water infrastructure systems. I obtained quantitative data on geographical hurricane attributes, demographic characteristics of populations struck by hurricanes, and confirmed cases of giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis within the time period of years 2000 to 2018. Qualitative data was also retrieved through review of local and regional news outlets to identify issues with water quality following storms, particularly regarding water infrastructure of areas affected by hurricanes. All data was examined for overarching trends and corresponding associations between increases in waterborne disease and documented infrastructure damage in the year following a hurricane. There was no clear association between cases of giardiasis and infrastructure failures, but a potential relationship of cryptosporidiosis and infrastructure failures was observed. Results also indicated no clear association between being struck by a hurricane and income, social vulnerability index, or race. Areas lacking research include resources and capabilities of water facilities during environmental stress, additional variables resulting in upticks of disease, and financial resources of communities most at risk. This study revealed the need for more granular data and an increased focus on relationships between waterborne disease and water infrastructure.
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