Emerging and Re-Emerging Diseases

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  • Emerging and Re-Emerging Diseases

    Emerging and reemerging diseases know no boundaries. As such, strengthening security and safety in order to detect and control infectious diseases is instrumental for ensuring health security, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). Combatting outbreaks should be a national priority for all countries in the region, to protect not only local populations but also the international community. By focusing on emerging and re-emerging disease detection and control, EMPHNET aims to strengthen the capacity for public and veterinary health systems to identify, report, and manage outbreaks. Important work areas include defining the spectrum of disease severity (extent of virus transmission), detecting change in incidence of infection, improving case definitions, identifying sources of infection, identifying opportunities to improve isolation during patient care, and determining the risk factors that for transmission of these diseases among susceptible population.

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    Communicable diseases remain a significant public health burden in the EMR. The region faces many challenges in controlling the spread of these diseases, largely resulting from insufficient infrastructure and inadequate capacities of health care workers, technologies, and systems (e.g. public health surveillance systems and response capacities). Food-, water-, and vector-borne diseases; vaccine preventable diseases; emerging and re-emerging infections; and diseases from antimicrobial resistance are prevalent in the region. EMPHNET’s guiding principal is to build capacities and support vulnerable areas in a culturally-sensitive and timely manner. Specifically, EMPHNET is actively involved in areas related to: (a) immunizations and vaccine preventable diseases, such as polio, (b) emerging and re-emerging diseases, such as Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), (c) brucellosis, and (d) the surveillance of severe acute respiratory-tract infections (SARIs).



    The Communicable Diseases and Emergency Division (CDED) at EMPHNET is involved in a range of activities to control infectious diseases and to improve health security in the region. The CDED is working to improve rapid disease detection, assessment, investigation, and response; to increase risk communication; and to support emergency preparedness and response. Importantly, the CDED uses these opportunities to strengthen health systems at the national, sub-regional, and regional levels and to maximize the skills of Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) graduates and the regional public health work force.



    EMPHNET works and collaborates with Ministries of Health of the EMR member states, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), and other national and international organizations.



    BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). Communicable Disease Control annual. http://www.bccdc.ca/dis-cond/comm-manual/default.htm

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/

    World Health Organization (WHO). Communicable disease in the Eastern Mediterranean Region prevention and control 2010-2011. http://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/116803

    WHO. Global Alert and Response (GAR): Coronavirus infections. http://www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/en/