Public health emergencies : preparedness and response
Since 2011, there have been more than 1200 outbreaks of epidemic-prone diseases in 188 countries around the world. Large-scale epidemics cause widespread death and suffering, disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable populations, and lead to social, economic and political disruption.
Approximately 70-80% of high-risk pathogens spread between animals and humans (they are zoonotic). Some of these are known but many are unknown and are currently circulating among animal species around the world.
The rapid detection, verification, assessment and communication of potential health threats is essential to save lives and reduce the negative impact of health emergencies. Countries, communities and organizations must be able to respond immediately and effectively to potential health threats and emergencies caused by any hazard. For this, readiness is essential.