The recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa clearly demonstrated the critical role of laboratory systems and networks in responding to epidemics. Because of the huge challenges in establishing functional laboratories at all tiers of health systems in developing countries, strengthening specimen referral networks is critical. In this review article, we propose a platform strategy for developing specimen referral networks based on 2 models: centralized and decentralized laboratory specimen referral networks.
In late 2013, an Ebola outbreak quickly grew into an epidemic of extraordinary magnitude, killing more people than all previous Ebola outbreaks combined. Although the epidemic was unprecedented, the world had previously experienced several acute public health emergencies requiring global coordination. HIV/AIDS, SARS and H1N1 tested global response, and in each case coordination proved problematic, making the 2013–2015 Ebola epidemic no exception.
Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases of animals that can cause disease when transmitted to humans.
This WHO infectious diseases index provides comprehensive general and technical information on the various infectious diseases that prevail globally.
The Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) serves as an essential instrument for the rapid and accurate dissemination of epidemiological information on cases and outbreaks of diseases under the International Health Regulations and on other communicable diseases of public health importance, including emerging or re-emerging infections.
An electronic bilingual English/French version of the WER is accessible every Friday and can be downloaded free of charge.
As part of our work on A Transforming World, we introduce a new people-focused theme “Be Prepared!” with this pandemics Primer, setting out the challenges and opportunities presented by the theme of fighting pandemics.
The TWiGH panel talks to Dr Frank Smith of the No More Epidemics Campaign and Management Science for Health (MSH) to learn more about their initiative aimed at ending epidemics. At the same time, the panel gets talking with Frank to learn more about advocacy as a career. The panel discusses International Health Regulations (IHR), pandemic prevention strategies, how to get a job in advocacy and policy area.