Tags: bill gates | new england journal of medicine | epidemic

Bill Gates in New England Journal of Medicine: Prepare for Next Epidemic

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By    |   Monday, 30 Mar 2015 06:13 PM

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Bill Gates laid out a frightening scenario regarding future epidemics: “We must prepare for future epidemics of diseases that may spread more effectively than Ebola.”

Gates, a businessman and philanthropist, challenged the world to learn from what happened with Ebola.

“There is a significant chance that an epidemic of a substantially more infectious disease will occur sometime in the next 20 years; after all, we saw major epidemics during the 20th century, including the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 and the ongoing pandemic of human immunodeficiency virus,” Gates wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. “In fact, of all the things that could kill more than 10 million people around the world, the most likely is an epidemic stemming from either natural causes or bioterrorism.”

Gates said the world needs to look at future epidemics like war — a plan needs to be in place, including an organization to manage and coordinate responses.

“Despite efforts by the United States and a few other countries, there are still big holes in the world's ability to respond to an epidemic,” Gates wrote. “Other countries may be more likely to step up if they see an overall plan and understand their role in it. We need a rigorous study of the cost of building a global warning and response system and a plan for contributions from various countries.”

Some disagreed with Gates’ assessment that a problem lies with international response. Emmanuel d’Harcourt, senior health director of the International Rescue Committee, told NPR that while a global response system might be helpful, that’s not where the trouble is. 

"Local preparedness and local response," d'Harcourt said. "We know that in most disasters, not just epidemics, but all kinds of disasters, the people who are able to respond the earliest are local. If you have local preparedness, you don't really get a major epidemic at all."

A year after the Ebola outbreak began, cases continue in Sierra Leone and are on the rise in Guinea, the World Health Organization said.

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In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Bill Gates laid out a frightening scenario regarding future epidemics: "We must prepare for future epidemics of diseases that may spread more effectively than Ebola."
bill gates, new england journal of medicine, epidemic
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2015-13-30
Monday, 30 Mar 2015 06:13 PM
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