15. WHO shall promote nations’ use of Incident Management System for early detection and response to pandemics

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Rapporteur: Ronald St. John

BASIC PREMISE

There will be pandemics at some time in the future.

Small outbreaks of infectious diseases occur daily throughout the world. Depending on the transmission potential for specific or unknown pathogens, a small cluster of infected people can rapidly become an epidemic at a local, district/provincial or national level. In the absence of a comprehensive and internationally accepted definition of what constitutes a pandemic, for purposes of this paper, a pandemic is an epidemic that is occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people with a high degree of morbidity and mortality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3127276/

Why are pandemics inevitable?

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Adam Wynne

The Zika outbreak in French Polynesia (circa. 2013) is a prime example of why this incident system would benefit global health. Apparently, regional health offices on remote Pacific islands were reporting cases of Zika as early as 2012/2013. However, due to the remoteness and delayed communications between regional outposts and central data processing centers – it was not flagged in a timely manner. Then – in 2015 (?) the Va’a Canoe Games (and subsequently the Olympics in 2016) took place in Brazil in Latin America. This allowed a corridor for the relatively rare virus to reach the Americas – where… Read more »

Beverly Anderson

There seems to be huge support for Incident Management Systems in southern Africa. If you google the term, the organizations discussion and practicing it are generally located there. And they seem to have a good time together socializing. (See this photo.) Most of the other articles you find about the subject are wooden and technical. Hello, South Africa!

Adam Wynne

Several years ago a frozen reindeer in Siberia defrosted, releasing anthrax in a remote Russian village, killing over 70 people. Is there a risk of frozen, Arctic graves defrosting, and releasing diseases thought to be extinct and/or uncommon? This Anthrax case study reminded me of reports of diphtheria, smallpox, and Spanish flu in remote Arctic regions. Could pathogens be in a natural “cold storage” in old graves – an essential climate-change/pandemic time-bomb? How deep were bodies buried in the Arctic during the diphtheria, smallpox, and Spanish flu epidemics – given the levels of permafrost and remote settlements? Norway has certainly… Read more »

In her video talk show/podcast, Ann Swidler gives a lot of credit to George W. Bush for making medication affordable in Africa for HIV/AIDS.