4:30pm Disaster in Haiti Update: Series of Health Risks in Quake Aftermath

Survivors of yesterday's massive earthquake in Haiti are facing an assortment of heightened health risks. Experts say the dead bodies don't typically pose a public health problem in the immediate aftermath. Rather, the big threats right now include respiratory disease from inhaling the dust of collapsed buildings and diarrhea from drinking contaminated water. And Haiti's existing health problems could worsen. Medical experts say disasters generally do not lead to new outbreaks of infectious diseases, but refugees likely face greater risk of Dengue (DEN'-ghee) fever, malaria and measles. Hospitals and clinics have been severely damaged, and that poses the risk of secondary infections. And people suffering broken bones and other injuries may not be able to get the medical attention they need and develop complications. Experts also say the sight of dead bodies will exact a psychological toll for a country already plagued by violence. (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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