Shitov, A.V., 2010. Health of people living in a seismically active region. In: Florinsky, I.V. (Ed.), Man and the Geosphere. Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp. 185–213.
Hundreds of millions of people live in seismically active regions around the globe. They are influenced by active tectonic factors on not only days of strong earthquakes, but every day as well. In this chapter, the author analyzes the influence of the geoenvironment on the health of people, living in a seismically active region, the Altai Republic, at long-, medium-, and short-term temporal scales. Correlation analyses of prevalence rates of various nosologies and a set of geological indices demonstrated that there is a long-term influence of terrestrial γ radiation, intrusions, magnetic anomalies, and active faults on the morbidity of some diseases in the adult population. Medium- and short-term medical reactions of the local population on the 2003 Chuya earthquake are studied in the context of its preparation, meteorological and hydrogeological consequences. At a medium-term scale, analysis of time series of incidence rates of various nosologies in the adult, teenager, and child populations demonstrated that incidence dynamics of the total adult morbidity and some nosologies is marked by a gradual rise in 2000–2001, a sharp spike in 2002–2003, and a gradual decay in 2004–2005. This may testify that the earthquake preparation has begun to influence the health of local people about 2–3 years ahead of the main shock. At a short-term scale, a superimposed epoch analysis of time series of emergency calls demonstrated that there was an increase in calls before the earthquake and during aftershocks.
The author supposes that different seismically derived agents influence human health at different temporal scales. At a medium-term scale, changes of a dynamic stress field results in the increase of fracturing along fault zones leading to the rise of the radon emanation and changes in the hydrogeological situation. At a short-term scale, the earthquake preparation causes atmospheric events triggering geomagnetic fluctuations.
There were differences in both the medium- and short-term dynamics of morbidity concerning different nosologies. This may testify that different systems of the human organism are marked by distinct sensitivities to an earthquake as a stress factor.