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Are Dermatologists Prepared for Natural and Manmade Disasters?

By January 31, 2020 February 14th, 2020 No Comments

Natural and manmade disasters cause a range of dermatologic manifestations, including secondary infections after a flood, irritation from blistering agents used in chemical warfare, or acute and chronic effects of cutaneous radiation syndrome.

In a study, “A Survey of Dermatologists’ Preparedness for Natural and Man-made Disasters,” (January 2020 Journal of Drugs in Dermatology), Adam Friedman, MD, interim chair of the Department of Dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, finds that dermatologists are under prepared for biological disasters, and would benefit from comprehensive preparedness training.
“Recognizing and diagnosing the conditions that can arise following a disaster requires diagnostic acumen, knowledge on reporting, and short- and long-term management strategies,” Dr. Friedman said.

The study cites a 2003 survey  in which that 88% of dermatologists felt unprepared to respond to a biological attack.

“Encouragingly, though, 75% reported that disaster preparedness should be part of dermatology training, thus a formal training program is sorely needed to meet this demand,” the study notes.

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