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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 121-122

Corona Virus Disease 2019 Pandemic: The Necessity for Outbreak Readiness and Response Plan in Prison Settings


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission24-Mar-2020
Date of Decision27-Mar-2020
Date of Acceptance07-May-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Professor Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu-603108
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_21_20

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  Abstract 


The pandemic of Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) has overwhelmed the health care delivery system and compelled the public health authorities to mount an unprecedented response against the novel viral infection. People who are deprived of their freedom and who are residing in prison or other detention centers, usually stay in close proximity and therefore there is a definite possibility that they can be a source of infection or multiplication and thus play an important role in the transmission of this viral infection within and beyond the prison settings. Thus, there is a definite need for each of the nation to improve their outbreak readiness and response system to identify and manage the cases of the disease in prison settings. In conclusion, in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of people in prison cannot be ignored, as there is a definite possibility for the introduction and amplification of the disease in the prison as well as in the community

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, outbreak readiness, prison, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona Virus Disease 2019 Pandemic: The Necessity for Outbreak Readiness and Response Plan in Prison Settings. MAMC J Med Sci 2020;6:121-2

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona Virus Disease 2019 Pandemic: The Necessity for Outbreak Readiness and Response Plan in Prison Settings. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 1];6:121-2. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2020/6/2/121/293883




  Introduction Top


The pandemic of Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) has overwhelmed the health care delivery system and compelled the public health authorities to mount an unprecedented response against the novel viral infection.[1],[2] The global estimates suggest that a total of 1,844,863 cases and 117,021 deaths have been attributed to the infection.[1] The European region has been affected the most with a total of 943,272 cases and 80,712 deaths (case fatality rate − 8.5%) been reported in the region. However, the global case fatality rate of the disease has been estimated at 6.3%, and it has justified the necessity that the disease cannot be ignored and that all the measures should be taken to effectively contain the infection.[1],[2],[3]

COVID-19 in Prisons

The available evidence conclusively suggests that the most common mode of disease transmission is through close contact and droplet transmission and thus the probability of disease transmission enhances immensely in overcrowded or confined settings. On that note, people who are deprived of their freedom and who are residing in prison or other detention centers, usually stay in close proximity and therefore there is a definite possibility that they can be a source of infection or multiplication and thus play an important role in the transmission of this viral infection within and beyond the prison settings.[2],[4] It is crucial to understand that any shortcoming on our part in terms of infection prevention and control either in the community or prison can act as a catalyst for the introduction and rapid multiplication of cases in either setting through the incoming or outgoing individuals in the prison, including the staff members.[4]

Outbreak readiness in prisons

From the public health perspective, it is vital to acknowledge that the containment of the infection in prison might not be similar to the general population as these individuals are already under restrictions and there is a definite chance that their reaction might be a different one.[4] Further, the possibility of coexisting diseases among the people in prison cannot be ruled out and thus it makes the entire process an extremely challenging task for the health authorities as the death rates are quite high in such group of individuals. Thus, there is a definite need for each nation to improve their outbreak readiness and response system to identify and manage the cases of the disease in prison settings.[2],[3],[4],[5]

Recommended public health strategies

The intended goals can be accomplished by developing a set of guidelines which explicitly state about the preparedness plan (including safety of the people detained in prison, visitors and staff, reduction in the risk of outbreak, and prioritizing the issue in national-level emergency planning), implementation of effective infection prevention and control measures by averting the possibility of introduction or onward transmission, and strengthening the components of the emergency response plan (viz. surveillance, diagnostic facilities, training and education of all stakeholders in prison, risk communication, appropriate use of personal protection measures, environmental measures, physical distancing strategies, protocol for assessment of suspected cases, the protocol to be followed if a staff or detained person becomes unwell, case management, contact tracing, isolation, referral services, etc.).[2],[3],[4],[5]

Amidst all these developments, it is a must that the rights of the detained persons should be respected and under all probability the proposed standard of care or health services should be equivalent to the general population in all regards.[4] All the new entries to the prisons should be carefully evaluated for the presence of symptoms suggestive of the disease and should be also inquired about the history of travel or contact with a positive case of the disease.[4],[5] It is extremely important to avoid stigmatization of the potential suspects and accordingly they should be informed about the need for isolation.[4] Moreover, the isolated individuals should be also provided with the psychological support through counselors to improve their mental well-being and should be referred to the health care facilities, if the condition of the patient worsens.[3],[4]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of people in prison cannot be ignored, as there is a definite possibility for the introduction and amplification of the disease in the prison as well as in the community. Thus, it is our responsibility to be well prepared for a potential outbreak and strengthen our emergency response plan for the benefit of everyone.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report − 85; 2020. Available at: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200414-sitrep-85-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=7b8629bb_4 (Accessed April 15, 2020).  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Ward MP, Li X, Tian K. Novel coronavirus 2019, an emerging public health emergency. Transbound Emerg Dis 2020;67:469-70.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Jernigan DB, CDC COVID-19 Response Team. Update: public health response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 outbreak − United States, February 24, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:216-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization − Regional Office for Europe. Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention − Interim guidance. Copenhagen: WHO press 2020. p:1-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019‑nCoV): strategic preparedness and response plan. Geneva: WHO press 2020. p:1-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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