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Usefulness of Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Infectious Diseases in Natural Disaster: Clinical Aspects and Management for Infection Prevention and Control

Tetsuji AOYAGI1)2)
1)Department of Infectious Diseases, Internal Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2)Intelligent Network for Infection Control, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine

Japan is called a "disaster powerhouse," as it is affected by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, torrential rains, and typhoons almost every year. Immediately after a disaster, wound infections and respiratory tract infections including pneumonia, which are related to trauma and drowning, arise health problems for victims. Thereafter, poor hygiene at the evacuation center and forced long-term living in overcrowded areas cause infections and outbreaks due to influenza virus and infectious gastroenteritis including norovirus. Infectious diseases after natural disasters are problems not only at an individual level but also in a community environment.
It is necessary to accurately grasp which infectious disease is the problem after natural disaster, and we should apply effective medical treatment or infection control. In a situation where the lifeline after a natural disaster is insufficient and medical resources are limited, the identification of pathogenic microorganisms by point-of-care testing (POCT) using immunochromatography (such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila by urinary antigen test, influenza virus antigen test, and norovirus antigen test) is reportedly useful for the treatment of infection and early detection and intervention of outbreaks in evacuation centers.
It is expected that genetic testing will continue to spread in the field of infectious diseases in the future. However, currently, it is impossible to carry out genetic testing as a POCT after a natural disaster. Therefore, even in the absence of a disaster, it is necessary to closely examine past cases of infectious diseases after natural disasters and evaluate which POCT especially in immunochromatography have been established with infectious diseases.

Key words:natural disaster, infectious diseases, point-of-care testing, immunochromatography


Received: December 7, 2020
Accepted: February 17, 2021

36 (3):127─135,2021

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