Health security's blind spot

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The severity of this year's influenza virus is a reminder of the daunting task facing the global health community as it struggles to prevent infectious diseases from sparking deadly epidemics.

Seth - Science - Blind spot

Geneva, 9 March 2018 - Today, yellow fever and cholera continue to spread in Africa, while Brazil is in the midst of a major yellow fever outbreak. It was only recently that Zika virus and Ebola virus epidemics were in the headlines. The world needs to harness every resource and tool in the battle to catch outbreaks before they catch us. Prevention is always the first line of defense, and nations must maintain vigilant surveillance—and yet, effective and affordable, quick and definitive diagnostics are absent in the countries where they are most needed. This represents one of our most serious global health security blind spots.

During the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the first cases were initially misdiagnosed as cholera, and then later as Lassa fever on the basis of clinical symptoms. It took nearly 3 months before blood samples sent to Europe finally identified the disease as Ebola, during which time it was allowed to spread. Similarly, in Nigeria, a lack of rapid diagnostics is making it difficult to get ahead of the current yellow fever outbreak with targeted vaccination...

Read the full article on the Science website.

 

US$ 80-100 billion

Investing in Gavi’s 2016-2020 strategy has the potential to deliver US$ 80-100 billion in costs averted related to illness, such as productivity loss due to death/disability, treatment costs, caretaker productivity loss and transport costs.

Stack M et al. Estimated economic benefits during Decade of Vaccines, Health Affairs 2011

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