Child/Adolescent Survey Can Answer Important Questions About 9/11 Health
February 25, 2008
The parents or guardians of just one in three children or adolescents who are enrolled in the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry have completed the follow-up survey that will help assess the impact of 9/11 on child health more than six years after the disaster. The follow-up surveys were mailed to 2,000 parents and guardians in May and June 2007. In comparison, 67% of adults responded to a similar survey about their health that concluded last year.
For a copy of the survey, call (866) 692-9827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The survey will remain open through August 31, 2008.
Through telephone and e-mail contact, outreach and publicity, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is urging parents to complete this important survey. It can help answer important questions about how exposure to the collapse of the World Trade Center has affected child health, a subject that has received little study to date.
Parents of more than 3,000 children and adolescents completed the first Registry survey. It established that children under five had an increased likelihood of being diagnosed with asthma in the two to three years following the terrorist attacks.
The 2007-2008 child/adolescent survey, in combination with the follow-up adult survey, can help determine how long these symptoms have persisted (more than 1,000 Registry enrollees who were enrolled as children by their parents now have matured into adulthood). With their parents’ permission, children ages 11 and older can, for the first time, complete a section of the survey on their own, although parents also are asked to complete an additional section.
Parents are being asked to complete the follow-up survey even if their child feels fine. The information is important because it is the only ongoing study of children who were affected by 9/11. The experience also can engage the child in the work of the WTC Health Registry, one of the largest in America, which will track the health of 71,000 people, who now reside in all 50 states and 15 countries, for at least twenty years. Completing the survey takes only about 20 minutes and all information provided is kept confidential.
The survey covers both physical and mental health. It asks about health conditions that have emerged since the disaster, including coughing and asthma, as well as symptoms such as nightmares. The survey also asks about conditions at home shortly after the attacks, including the presence of dust and debris.
While many of those who suffered adverse effects from the attacks have improved or recovered, others appear to have persistent or worsening symptoms, including respiratory illness and serious psychological distress. There are still many unanswered questions, especially about children’s health and the results can be used to improve clinical care, especially for the youngest people caught in this or future disasters.
WTC Health Registry enrollees also can update their contact information here. This will ensure that they are notified about important information related to the Registry and future surveys.