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A health crisis or public health crisis is a difficult situation or complex health system that affects humans in one or more geographic areas (mainly occurred in natural hazards), from a particular locality to encompass the entire planet. Health crises generally have significant impacts on community health, loss of life, and on the economy. They may result from disease, industrial processes or poor policy.[1][2]

Its severity is often measured by the number of people affected by its geographical extent, or the disease or death of the pathogenic process which it originates.[3][4]



Having lost their homes in the earthquake, many Haitians now live in precarious camps.

Generally there are three key components in health crises:[5]

  • Public health problem[6]
  • Problem health coordination
  • Alarm care: Poor communication of risks to the population resulting in social upheaval.[7]


  • Environmental
  • Food
  • Infectious
  • Toxic


Baby born to a mother who had taken thalidomide while pregnant.
Metro of Mexico, passengers are protected against influenza A.
Symptoms of microcephaly, linked to mothers infected by Zika virus.[8]

Prevention and controlEdit

  • Using the health warning systems. A health system responsive to the needs of the population is required to refine the instruments to ensure adequate preparation before their hatching.[39][40][41]
  • Transparency of the institutions public or private. The perception of crisis can escape the control of experts or health institutions, and be determined by stakeholders to provide solutions propagate or concerned. This requires a difficult balancing of the need to articulate clear answers and the little-founded fears.[42]
  • Adequate information policy. Irrationality arise when information is distorted, or hidden. Face a health crisis involves: respect for society, coordination of organizations and an institution with scientific weight to the people and to the media, who acted as spokesman in situations of public health risk, to get confidence citizens. The technical capacity of health professionals is more proven than the public officials, which suggests a greater share of the former and better training of the second.[43][44][45]
  • Evaluate the previous crisis or others experiences. Crises are challenges that must be learned from both the mistakes and successes, since they serve to bring about to the devices and improve the response to other crises. It is important to perform analysis of previous responses, audit risk and vulnerability, research and testing, and drills to prepare themselves against future crises.[46][47][48]
  • Having objectives: "first, to reduce the impact of illness and death, and second, to avoid social fracture".[49]
  • Preparing contingency plans. Preparation is key to the crisis because it allows a strong response, organized, and scientifically based. Action plans must meet the professional early enough and properly trained, and politicians must be consistent in their actions and coordinate all available resources. It is essential to invest in public health resources to prepare preventive measures and reducing health inequalities to minimize the impact of health crises, as they generally always the poorest suffer most.[50][51]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Joseph Brownstein. The Top 10 Health Scares Of The Decade. ABC News. 07/12/2009".
  2. ^ "Gérvas J, Meneu R. Public health crises in a developed society. Successes and limitations in Spain. SESPAS report 2010. Gac Sanit. 2010; 24(Supl 1):33-6" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-23.
  3. ^ Alderson MR. Mortality, morbidity, and health statistics. New York: Stockton Press; 1988. ISBN 0-935859-31-4
  4. ^ Gravitz L. A smouldering public-health crisis. Nature. 2011/06/09; 474:S2-4. doi:10.1038/474S2a
  5. ^ Noji EK. The public health consequences of disasters. Oxford: OUP; 1997.
  6. ^ Anand, Geeta (30 July 2011). "India's Public Health Crisis: The Government Responds".
  7. ^ Público. "crisis".
  8. ^ "Understanding Zika". Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Chemical & Engineering News: Top Pharmaceuticals: Thalidomide".
  10. ^ "A Long Trial in Spain on Fatal Tainted Food". The New York Times. Madrid. August 2, 1987.
  11. ^ "Indonesia key. Controlling the Pandemic: Public Health Focus. Koshland Science Museum. Retrieved 2015-07-10" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Behind the Veil of a Public Health Crisis: HIV/AIDS in the Muslim World".
  13. ^ Fullilove, Dr Robert. "AIDS In Black America: A Public Health Crisis".
  14. ^ Fields, C. Virginia (24 July 2012). "HIV/AIDS and the Public Health Crisis in Our Communities: The Time for Action Is Now".
  15. ^ "Bovine Spongiform Encephalopaphy: An Overview" (PDF). Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture. December 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
  16. ^ Achterberg, E. (1999), "Impact of Los Frailes mine spill on riverine, estuarine and coastal waters in southern Spain", Water Res., 33: 3387, doi:10.1016/S0043-1354(99)00282-1.
  17. ^ Amerithrax or Anthrax Investigation Archived 2010-09-09 at the Wayback Machine., U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  18. ^ Smith, R. D. (2006). "Responding to global infectious disease outbreaks, Lessons from SARS on the role of risk perception, communication and management". Social Science and Medicine. 63 (12): 3113–3123. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.08.004. PMID 16978751.
  19. ^ A/H5, The Writing Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) Consultation on Human Influenza (29 September 2005). "Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Infection in Humans". 353 (13): 1374–1385. doi:10.1056/NEJMra052211. PMID 16192482 – via Taylor and Francis+NEJM.
  20. ^ "Ivory Coast Government Panel Releases Toxic Waste Findings". Voice of America. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  21. ^ Mozaffarian, Dariush; Katan, Martijn B.; Ascherio, Alberto; Stampfer, Meir J.; Willett, Walter C. (13 April 2006). "Trans Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease". 354 (15): 1601–1613. doi:10.1056/NEJMra054035. PMID 16611951 – via Taylor and Francis+NEJM.
  22. ^ "Mattel to recall more Chinese-made toys. CNN. 14/08/2007".[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "Listeria Monocytogenes - Public Health Agency of Canada". 7 February 2009. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009.
  24. ^ Ministerio de Salud de Chile. Listeriosis: con medidas simples la población puede prevenirla. 28/11/2008. Access date 26/05/2013. Archived 2009-04-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ "Noriega LM, Gonzalez P, Thompson L, Pérez J, Marcotti A, Vial P. Informe sobre aumento de casos de infección por Listeria monocytogenes en Santiago de Chile. Santiago de Chile: Unidad de Infectología de la Clínica Alemana. 16/06/2008. Access date 26/05/2013" (PDF).
  26. ^ Ministerio de Salud de Chile. Informe Listeriosis. 25/08/2009. Access date 26/05/2013.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ Trifonov, Vladimir; Khiabanian, Hossein; Rabadan, Raul (9 July 2009). "Geographic Dependence, Surveillance, and Origins of the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Virus". New England Journal of Medicine. 361 (2): 115–119. doi:10.1056/NEJMp0904572. PMID 19474418. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  28. ^ "Health crisis in Haiti enters a deadly new phase". 10 February 2010.
  29. ^ Commissioner, Office of the. "Public Health Focus - Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in Food Contact Application".
  30. ^ Martin Mittelstaedt. Canada first to declare bisphenol A toxic. Globe and Mail (Canada). 13 October 2010.
  31. ^ "Japan's other health crisis".
  32. ^ "European Commission - Health and Consumers Directorate General - 2 June 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 2011-06-04.
  33. ^ "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Medical devices: European Commission asks for further scientific study and draws first lessons from the recent fraud on breast implants".
  34. ^ "Información sobre las prótesis mamarias Poly Implant PIP. Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios. 02/03/2012".
  35. ^ Team, WHO Ebola Response (16 October 2014). "Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa — The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projections". 371 (16): 1481–1495. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1411100. PMC 4235004. PMID 25244186 – via Taylor and Francis+NEJM.
  36. ^ Farrar, Jeremy J.; Piot, Peter (16 October 2014). "The Ebola Emergency — Immediate Action, Ongoing Strategy". 371 (16): 1545–1546. doi:10.1056/NEJMe1411471. PMID 25244185 – via Taylor and Francis+NEJM.
  37. ^ "PAHO WHO - Zika virus infection - Geographic Distribution".
  38. ^ "Zika virus set to spread across Americas, spurring vaccine hunt". 26 January 2017 – via Reuters.
  39. ^ "Health Alert Network (HAN). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Atlanta. 2011/08/29". Archived from the original on 2011-09-12.
  40. ^ Valencia R, Román E, García-León FJ, et al. Sistemas de alerta: una prioridad de la vigilancia epidemiológica. Gac Sanit. 2003;17:520–2.
  41. ^ Fernández K, Ciotti M, Kaiser R. La Unión Europea ante las crisis sanitarias. Rev Adm Sanit. 2006; 4:425–35.
  42. ^ Abouzhr C, Adjei S, Kanchanachitra C. From data to policy: good practices and cautionary tales. Lancet. 2007; 369:1039–46.
  43. ^ "Risk Communication- Gateway to Health Communication - CDC".
  44. ^, Quodem Consultores S.L. "El Sistema Sanitario ante situaciones de crisis".
  45. ^ Lamata F. Crisis sanitaria y respuesta política. Rev Adm Sanit. 2006; 4:401–6.
  46. ^ Spiegel PB, Le P, Ververs MT, et al. Occurrence and overlap of natural disasters, complex emergencies and epidemics during the past decade(1995–2004). Conflict Health. 2007; 1:2.
  47. ^ "What does a health crisis look like? See Houston -".
  48. ^ "Gérvas J, Hernández-Aguado I, et al. Successes and failures in the management of public health crisis in Spain. Gac Sanit. 2009;23(1):67–71" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-23.
  49. ^ Weinstein RA. Planning for epidemics--the lessons of SARS. N Engl J Med. 2004; 350(23):2332-4.
  50. ^ Wells, Paul Krugman and Robin (23 March 2006). "The Health Care Crisis and What to Do About It" – via The New York Review of Books.
  51. ^ "Gérvas J, Hernández I. El eterno retorno de las crisis sanitarias. El País. 22/05/2007" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-17.


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