Monday, November 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: the 1st week - Paul Herscu ND, MPH

Well…it is hard to know how to start. For those of you who have lived through this experience, our hearts and thoughts are with you. Given that, I wanted to send a quick note that most likely reiterates what you have been hearing from public health and government and public works officials. The topic of disaster response is a well thought-out one, with a great deal of research behind it. When I studied disaster response as part of my MPH program, my teacher was Linda Landesman. She is a thought leader on the subject and wrote a very important book entitled Public Health Management of Disasters, a useful resource for people wanting to understand how to prepare for this sort of situation. The book is published by the APHA.
The way I think of the topic is very similar to how I think of disease in general. Is it acute or chronic or an acute flare-up of a chronic situation? Which means that when the event first occurs, the needs are different than they are a few weeks or 6 months later.  So for where we are now, here it goes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Updated Thoughts on The Vertigo Epidemic I Observed

This is a short update to my previous message on the increased incidence of vertigo I observed some months ago and which I properly labeled an epidemic. First, let me say that it is still occurring, as there are new people complaining of vertigo, though it does seem to be slowing down through the later month of October. And second, after looking in many possible online sites, and calling several public health authorities, there does not seem to be an awareness of this increased incidence, and it is that which I want to discuss.

Since we sent out the first notice, we have gotten over 200 emails with stories of people having experienced or experiencing new attacks of vertigo. And if I may, I would like to both thank and respond to many of those emails.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Vertigo Epidemic - October 2012

I wanted to send a short update. Over the past 3 months I have had an unusual number of patients with the chief complaint of acute vertigo. What was most puzzling was that these episodes lasted not for seconds, but for days, weeks or months, not just the fleeting experiences many people have. At first, I thought it was only a fluke. However, over time, the number in my practice grew to be truly unusual. I searched in a variety of places to see if there were any reported causes to account for this increase in incidence but have not found one.

After these few months, I sent a query to a broad number of people, asking if anyone had experienced this vertigo. It was my intention to assess the incidence of vertigo from that sampling of readers. To do that, I asked you not to describe patients but yourselves. I found an incidence of 48 people who personally experienced vertigo out of every 1,000 people who viewed/opened the email. In other words, the reported incidence of vertigo reached nearly 5%, which is a much higher incidence than typically expected. This number could well have been higher if we consider that some individuals who had vertigo and who viewed the notice opted not to reply. This large population inquiry was proof for me that we are in sort of epidemic related to acute vertigo, though it is odd that no one is speaking of it. Any number over 1% is an unusually high number, and should be noted.