Two new articles recommend critical strategies in disease surveillance and the value of strong cross-organizational partnerships
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Researchers who have studied past Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreaks are recommending strategies around the disease detection and reporting and providing insight behind the value of strong partnerships in times of global health security threats. These strategies, compiled by researchers from global organizations, including RTI International, a non-profit research institute, could be used during global health crises such as the recent spread of Novel Coronavirus (2019—nCoV).
In the articles, researchers have used their lessons from the EVD outbreak epicenters in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to recommend strategies such as daily coordination meetings, assessing and adapting reporting tools, establishing community alert systems and developing specific plans for communication and outbreak data. These avenues, paired with strong cross-collaborative partnerships between government and nongovernmental organizations on the ground, could be critical for enhancing outbreak detection and response systems.
“There are several factors during outbreaks that we cannot control but preparing in advance and continually improving public health surveillance and response infrastructure is something that is within our control.” said Pia MacDonald, MPH, PhD, an infectious disease epidemiologist at RTI. “We took lessons from past Ebola outbreaks in the DRC and Guinea to develop strategies that can be used to improve public health surveillance and response to outbreaks.”
In 2017, the DRC declared an outbreak of EVD 46 days after the first case developed. Fast forward to today and the World Health Organization has reported nearly 3,500 cases of EVD in a different outbreak—the second largest outbreak of EVD in history. Delays in detecting and reporting outbreaks cripple our efforts to contain them at their source to minimize their impact on the global community.