This week has proven to be a tumultuous week in which the steady rise of coronavirus cases in the US has led to more aggressive measures for outbreak control. The National Guard has been called to a neighboring town to contain the outbreak. On a personal note, my school district has closed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. I originally created this blog as a way to spread awareness of the importance of public health preparedness, as it was an undervalued topic. However, times have changed and public health and emergency management are at the forefront of news and public policy today as a result of COVID-19.
The US seems behind in its efforts to contain the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. Learnings from other countries, in particular Italy and Germany, indicate that infections have already spread widely in communities and can no longer be traced and controlled. These countries are ahead of the curve and there is no reason to believe that developments in the US will not follow this same path. Continue Reading
Over the summer, I met with Prof. Dr. Manfred Wildner and his colleague, Dr. Herbert Zöllner, in Munich, Germany to learn about the structure of public health institutions and emergency preparedness in Germany.
Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states. Each individual state is responsible for public health, as well as other matters including policing and education. I wanted to understand how Germany, and in particular the individual states, organize themselves to prepare for public health emergencies. Continue Reading
All around the world, the structure and security measures for biodefense preparedness vary. Countries have very distinct strategies based on their location, size, and type of government. I was particularly interested in Singapore, a very small country of only 5.8 million residents and 278 square miles, because of its reputation for efficiency and high standards. Therefore, I asked the Singaporean Government if they could share information on their approach to protecting their country from biological threats. Continue Reading
The World Health Organization has recently declared the nearly year-long Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a Public-Health Emergency of International Concern. The declaration was made after recent developments in the outbreak made it one of international concern. Continue Reading
Happy Independence Day! Over the last week, I have attempted to increase my understanding of how the American incident management system works and the organizational structure that is in place in case of an emergency. In order to do this, I took two courses provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Continue Reading
As of yesterday, New York City has declared a public health emergency in response to a widespread measles outbreak in Brooklyn. Measles is a viral infection that can be very dangerous for small children, but has been preventable with a vaccine since the 1960s. Common measles symptoms include a cough, runny nose, fever, and a red skin rash. Measles symptoms do not appear until 10 to 14 days after the initial exposure, which allows for easy transmission of the virus during the initial days of infection. Continue Reading
I recently spoke with Dr. Suneil Malik about genomics and outbreak preparedness.
Dr. Malik is a Manager and Team Leader for Toxicology at Health Canada, a government agency directed by the Canadian Minister of Health. He is based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Happy New Year, everyone! From January 29th to January 31st 2019 there will be a conference held by the American Society for Microbiology in Arlington, Virginia. Discussions and exhibitions on the latest developments in biosecurity and bioterrorism will be held by leading experts in academia, government, and the public health industry from around the world.