From ProMED – The IMPORTANCE OF Vigilant Surveillance

May 8, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

 

The World Health Organization this week took the unusual step of declaring a global health emergency. Reacting to the spread of polio in several countries, WHO exercised this power for only the second time since new regulations were adopted seven years ago. Why now and why is this important?

 

After a 25-year campaign to eliminate polio through massive deployments of teams to vaccinate hundreds of millions of children, we were close to eradicating the paralyzing virus. In February, dignitaries from around the world came together in Delhi to celebrate three years since the last confirmation of a case of WPV associated polio in India. Critical to this success have been high-quality campaigns that reached children multiple times with OPV and the development of systems for reliable surveillance and timely reporting so that the full extent of outbreaks can be determined, tracked, and understood.

 

WHO is reacting to the very real possibility that the disease will rapidly spread from Pakistan, Syria, and Cameroon to their neighbors and, via international travel, to the rest of the world. Based on public health data disclosed by the Ministries of Health in the affected countries in accordance with international agreements, the WHO’s declaration puts public health measures in place in these countries. These actions not only represents a welcomed aggressive stance on a re-emerging disease by the global health community, it supports the notion that gathering data and sharing it freely is in the best interests of everyone’s health.

 

Vigilant surveillance remains the best strategy for rapid response, and the ProMED network remains the best and most reliable provider of that vigilance. ProMED has posted 173 detailed reports on polio since 2007. No other source provides the accurate, relevant, and timely emerging infectious disease reporting that ProMED provides multiple times each day. Covering the entire One Health spectrum of human, animal, and crop plant diseases, ProMED brings you news and unique expert interpretation and context that informs you about the disease and helps you understand how it might affect you, your family, your patients, your business, and your plans. No other source keeps you so well informed on topics you need and want to know about. No other source covers the topic of infectious diseases so broadly, deeply, and internationally. No other source provides it free of charge.

 

Except, of course, it is not free. We provide access to it for free in order to foster an international community of people concerned about emerging diseases, but the level and quality of service ProMED provides you isexpensive. Maintaining an international staff of experts available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to add perspective and analysis is expensive. Please help keep ProMED-mail unfettered, uncensored, and free – please contribute generously.

 

ProMED-mail has been widely recognized for the transparency and scope of its reporting, the depth of its commentary. Now is the time for you to recognize the important role you play as a reader and supporter. We are committed to aiding international disease surveillance vigilance at no cost to subscribers in 187 countries around the world. But we need your support to do that. More than a third of the annual operating budget for ProMED is funded with voluntary contributions from subscribers. If you are one of more than 65,000 subscribers who rely on ProMED for up-to-the-minute information on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, please give now.

 

 

Sincerely,
Larry Madoff, Editor
ProMED-Mail

 

 

P.S. Our Fall 2013 fund raising campaign was a great success. Thank you to everyone who contributed! If you haven’t given recently, please consider joining the nearly 1000 subscribers and organizations who have demonstrated just how important ProMED is to them!

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