Epidemiological protocols for populations affected by volcanic eruptions

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Volcanic eruptions can have far-reaching consequences for human health, including injuries, illnesses and deaths. One study estimates that 600 million people currently living in areas of risk. Following an eruption, air quality can be significantly deteriorated. Since airborne ash and gases from volcanic emissions may affect the respiratory system, the public may be concerned over the potential health effects, particularly those most exposed or most vulnerable.

To address these difficulties and assist with the generation of health evidence from volcanic contexts, the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network has developed standardized protocols to facilitate epidemiological studies of populations that have been, or may be in the future, exposed to volcanic ash and gases. The process is described in this document and also  the suggested use of these protocols to help promote awareness and build the health evidence base of acute volcanic exposures.

This article is from the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.