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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 50-55

Should area, population and sample selection for gas disaster studies be a multidisciplinary approach: Experiences from Bhopal MIC disaster

Department of Community Medicine, Chirayu Medical College and Hospital, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Brajendra Mishra
Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Chirayu Medical College and Hospital, Bhopal,462030
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-9019.135371

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Inroduction: Following methyl isocyanate (MIC) leak disaster in December 1984, epidemiological studies on health consequences among the affected population were started. The area, population and sample selection for these studies were mainly based on the mortality/morbidity experienced 72 hrs post-disaster or longer by the people living in affected area spread over in 36 wards. Designs for these studies were mainly cross-sectional or prospective. Very soon criticism to the method of area and sample selection started appearing in peer reviewed journals. Some scientists suggested alternative/improved methods for area/sample selection. In few studies, distance/exposure dose versus affect models were also developed and found to be more accurate. Authors decided to review the study design of Epidemiological studies conducted on Bhopal along with other gas disasters; two natural and two manmade have to occur during 1952-1986, for influence of non- epidemiological factors like terrain, meteorology contributed in precipitation of the disasters and the methodology used in area/population and sample selection. Materials and Methods: Field visits and Secondary data review: Authors visited Bhopal gas affected area many times in past and reviewed on other gas disasters. Results: Authors observed that area population and sample selection exercises can be strengthened by utilization of existing information on non-epidemiological factors contributing to disaster and information generated by other disciplines. It is concluded that in gas disaster epidemiological studies area, population and sample section should have multidisciplinary approach rather than being based on mortality morbidity indices or prevalence of effect rather than prevalence of the cause. Recommendations: Authors also recommend some steps to be considered before planning epidemiological studies on gas disasters in future.

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