Bill Gates thinks an infectious disease outbreak could kill 30 million people in the next decade — but the US is cutting efforts to prevent global pandemics
The worst Ebola outbreak in history killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa between 2014 and 2016. It spurred a realization: the world was extremely unprepared for epidemics of deadly disease.
So the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began an initiative known as the Global Health Security Agenda in 49 countries around the world in 2014. That program is supposed to help identify and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.
But money for that program is running out, according to CDC documents reviewed and reported on by the Wall Street Journal. Because of that, the CDC reportedly plans to eliminate those operations in 39 countries in the fall of 2019. Locations where the program would end include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China, Haiti, Rwanda, and Indonesia. In all of those locations, there’s enough biodiversity that humans regularly come into contact with emerging and rapidly transforming viruses and other potential disease-causing organisms.
Diseases know no national borders and can jump from one species to another, as happened to with Ebola, MERS, SARS, and various other epidemics in recent years. Because of that, many experts think that we need to be better prepared to conduct global disease surveillance in order to prevent future outbreaks.
Photo courtesy of Paolo Rosa.
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