WITH re-emergence of diseases once thought to have been
eradicated, concerned us and European health officials are
establishing a global early warning network which will keep
abreast of all such outbreaks in these regions and also other
parts of the world. The network on communicable diseases
will first focus on 'food-borne' diseases like hepatitis and also
keep a tab on the outbreak of the Escherichia coli bacterium,
one of the main culprits which plays havoc with human intestines.
"Relatively small outbreaks of disease often grow into global epidemics because local governments try to cover them up, and doctors in the rest of the world fail to curtail the microbes as they are spread by jetliners and other kinds of modem transportation" said Nancy Carter-Foster, director of the us state department's emerging infectious diseases programme and Georgios Gouvras, head of the European Union's public health policy unit. The network will maintain a list of diseases defined by clinical symptoms rather than by name to make sure that physicians take everything into consideration.
Other governments will also be encouraged to participate with promises of financial aid, in part, to battle epidemics. As Carter-Foster put it, "The diseases know no borders. For diseases, it is truly a one-world village." The World Health Organization rules that governments need to report outbreaks of only three diseases - cholera, plague and yellow fever. Ebola, AIDS or other deadly maladies do not figure in the list. The network would take into consideration these diseases too. Observes Carter-Foster, "We have to learn to adapt and deal with various diseases."
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.