Infections following a natural disaster such as an EF-5 tornado can be atypical and difficult to treat. Studies have looked at illness following several natural disasters, but few have studied respiratory illness following a tornado.
A review of patients with pneumonia admitted during the period from May 22, 2009, through May 21, 2012, was completed. The Tornado Zone Group included adult patients who lived or worked in the tornado zone during the year following the tornado. Data were isolated by number of pneumonia cases within and outside the tornado zone per month per year.
An analysis of variance comparing the number of pneumonia cases from the tornado zone per month per year was significant at F2,38 = 12.93 and P < .001, with increased cases in the Tornado Zone Group (P < .05). A t test comparing age of pneumonia patients found Tornado Zone patients to be younger than controls (t390 = 5.14; P < .01). Microbes isolated from the Tornado Zone Group included uncommon pathogens not isolated during the 2 years prior.
The number of pneumonia cases may increase following tornadoes. Although current guidelines recommend narrow-spectrum antibiotics for community-acquired pneumonia, results of this study suggest the possible need for broader antimicrobial coverage after tornadoes.
Copyright © 2015 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.