Are We Ready for the Next Pandemic?
In just three years – from 2014 to 2017 – significant progress has been made to improve the capabilities of countries throughout the world to respond to natural and manmade disease threats, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While work remains to be done, the CDC’s Global Health Security Agenda has implemented more than 675 advancements designed to stop disease threats at their source and save lives since 2014, in collaboration with 17 partner countries.
Heres’ one example: When an Ebola virus outbreak struck in Liberia three years ago, it took months to develop an effective response to the epidemic, and thousands of lives were lost. In April 2017, first responders arrived in Liberia within 24 hours after a deadly meningococcal disease illness was detected, limiting the outbreak to 31 cases and 13 deaths.
According to the CDC, improvements have also been made in disease surveillance, laboratory and diagnostic systems, health-care worker development, and emergency management and response. Thirteen countries have improved surveillance capabilities for three or more medical conditions; 16 countries have acquired new diagnostic equipment to detect pathogens; 14 countries have trained public health emergency management staff in skills necessary to coordinate an efficient, effective response; and all 17 countries have completed programs to identify, track, and contain disease outbreaks.