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Conducting Descriptive Epidemiology Following A Disaster: A Case Study of the West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Zane, David and Stone, Kahler and Akram, Hammad and Alvey, Stephanie and Morehead, Bonnie and Arnold, Sandi and Haywood, Tracy (2021): Conducting Descriptive Epidemiology Following A Disaster: A Case Study of the West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion. Published in: Disaster Epidemiology Resource Guide (July 2021)

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Abstract

On April 17, 2013, a fire and subsequent explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Company plant in West, Texas. This is plant is located in central Texas, in McLennan County. The explosion caused extensive damage to the homes, businesses, and schools near the plant. Because explosions of this magnitude are rare, an epidemiologic investigation was initiated to describe the fatal and nonfatal injuries caused by the explosion. The investigation found that the explosion killed 15 individuals and directly injured an additional 252 individuals. This investigation serves as a case study on how descriptive epidemiology can be used after a disaster.

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