Disease Detection Gets a Boost With Plans for a CDC in Africa

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In 1946, a malaria outbreak across the Southern U.S. catalyzed the formation of what would eventually become the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Then in 2002, China’s CDC began its operations just as an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, took hold.

Now, as the worst Ebola outbreak in history winds down, African health officials announced Monday they will partner with the U.S. to establish a continentwide African CDC.

The idea for an African CDC first came to light at the 2013 African Union Special Summit on HIV and AIDS, Tuberculous and Malaria in Abuja, Nigeria. If Ebola wasn’t the specific catalyst for forming the African CDC, the epidemic definitely sped up the timeline, U.S. health officials said Monday.

The African CDC will initially set up shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which is home to the African Union. That should happen later this year.

Soon after, five regional centers will open at undetermined locations across the continent. Field epidemiologists will staff each location and “will be responsible for disease surveillance, investigations, analysis and reporting trends and anomalies,” the CDC said Monday in a statement.

Source: NPR (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases