The recent Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa demonstrated the vulnerability of the local health care infrastructure to newly emerging infectious diseases.
Instead of recreating the wheel every time it’s necessary, in the aftermath of an outbreak, to analyze the performance, and then prepare for the future accordingly.
In outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases for which no proven efficacious vaccines exist but investigational vaccines have been developed, it is important both to rapidly test the investigational vaccines and, if effective, to deploy them.
Local health officials first suspected the emergence of Ebola after a 65-year-old woman with classic symptoms of the disease, died, and was buried in an unsafe manner, which led to the infection and death of seven of her relatives.
On average, in one corner of the world or another, a new infectious disease has emerged every year for the past 30 years: Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Nipah virus, Hendra, and many more.
As a hotspot for emerging and remerging diseases, Africa needs to develop a research base and scientific environment that will help accurately detect, document and monitor a range of pathogens.
The World Health Organization R&D Blueprint aims to accelerate the availability of medical technologies during epidemics by focusing on a list of prioritized emerging diseases for which medical countermeasures are insufficient or nonexistent.
Much has been learned about the links between the degree of preparedness and the effectiveness of response to a breakout of infectious diseases. Being prepared involves vital elements ranging from laboratory surveillance to communication about the risks.
The 2013–2016 outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa led to unprecedented morbidity and mortality.
Less than three months since an Ebola outbreak was declared, and after only about 50 cases, the outbreak’s efficient containment is a remarkable achievement that stands in stark contrast to the West African epidemic that spiraled into a two-year global crisis with over 28,000 cases.