Floods and human health: a systematic review

Alderman, Katarzyna, Turner, Lyle R. and Tong, Shilu (2012) Floods and human health: a systematic review. Environment International, 47 37-47. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2012.06.003

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Author Alderman, Katarzyna
Turner, Lyle R.
Tong, Shilu
Title Floods and human health: a systematic review
Journal name Environment International   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0160-4120
Publication date 2012-10-15
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.envint.2012.06.003
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 47
Start page 37
End page 47
Total pages 11
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Floods are the most common type of disaster globally, responsible for almost 53,000 deaths in the last decade alone (23:1 low- versus high-income countries). This review assessed recent epidemiological evidence on the impacts of floods on human health. Published articles (2004–2011) on the quantitative relationship between floods and health were systematically reviewed. 35 relevant epidemiological studies were identified. Health outcomes were categorized into short- and long-term and were found to depend on the flood characteristics and people's vulnerability. It was found that long-term health effects are currently not well understood. Mortality rates were found to increase by up to 50% in the first year post-flood. After floods, it was found there is an increased risk of disease outbreaks such as hepatitis E, gastrointestinal disease and leptospirosis, particularly in areas with poor hygiene and displaced populations. Psychological distress in survivors (prevalence 8.6% to 53% two years post-flood) can also exacerbate their physical illness. There is a need for effective policies to reduce and prevent flood-related morbidity and mortality. Such steps are contingent upon the improved understanding of potential health impacts of floods. Global trends in urbanization, burden of disease, malnutrition and maternal and child health must be better reflected in flood preparedness and mitigation programs.
Keyword Flood
Wounds and injuries
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 58 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 05 Dec 2014, 14:10:43 EST by Kasia Bolsewicz on behalf of School of Public Health