Challenges to Implementing Communicable Disease Surveillance in New York City Evacuation Shelters After Hurricane Sandy, November 2012


Hurricane Sandy hit New York City (NYC) on October 29, 2012. Before and after the storm, 73 temporary evacuation shelters were established. The total census of these shelters peaked at approximately 6,800 individuals. Concern about the spread of communicable diseases in shelters prompted the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to rapidly develop a surveillance system to report communicable diseases and emergency department transports from shelters. We describe the implementation of this system. Establishing effective surveillance in temporary shelters was challenging and required in-person visits by DOHMH staff to ensure reporting. After system establishment, surveillance data were used to identify some potential disease clusters. For the future, we recommend pre-event planning for disease surveillance.


These results and lessons learned can be useful for planning future responses to natural disasters or other public health emergencies.


Primary Topic Areas: 
Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
September, 2015

September 06, 2017

Contact Us


288 Grove Street, Box 203
Braintree, MA 02184
(617) 779 0880

This Knowledge Repository is made possible through the activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement/Grant #1 NU500E000098-01, National Surveillance Program Community of Practice (NSSP-CoP): Strengthening Health Surveillance Capabilities Nationwide, which is in the interest of public health.

Site created by Fusani Applications