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Report Stresses Swift Response and Improved Data to Control Infectious Diseases

Researchers from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York recently published a report that calls for better collaboration and proactive information sharing to prevent major outbreaks of infectious diseases. The authors cited the current threat of pathogens such as avian influenza (bird flu), West Nile virus and acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as compelling examples of the need for a proactive approach to infectious diseases from the world’s public health officials and health care providers. “Quick, decisive action to detect and control novel pathogens, and thereby contain outbreaks and prevent further transmission, is frequently hampered by incomplete information or inadequate data about a new or re-emerging pathogen,” said study author Michael L. Tapper, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, Lenox Hill Hospital.

The report also highlights the potential danger of emerging blood-borne viruses. Dr. Tapper made reference to the once-prevalent HIV infection rates among hemophilia patients as an historic example. “The presence of infectious agents in the blood supply could again have a significant impact on the safe use of both blood and blood-derived products in the care of patients with hemophilia, as did the human immunodeficiency virus in the 1980s,” warned Dr. Tapper. The report, “Emerging Viral Diseases and Infectious Disease Risks,” was published in the March 12, 2006 issue of Haemophilia.           

Source: Virus Weekly, April 4, 2006


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