Given the diverse and unpredictable threats that are posed by unprecedented globalization, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, emerging infectious disease, and bioterrorism, it is clear that a transformed system of disease surveillance that is predicated on seamless integration of a diverse set of capabilities is required. A truly comprehensive national early health warning system will rely upon the vertical integration of local, state, federal, and international officials as well as the horizontal integration of animal health, human health, public safety, communications, transportation, intelligence, and national security professionals and institutions. The system must be capabilities based to inject the degree of flexibility that is required for the earliest detection of unknown and unexpected health threats that are posed by natural and intentional exposure to disease. For the greater public-animal health community, the distinction between a criminal, terrorist, and natural epidemic appropriately remains one of suspicion of deliberate introduction, linkage with the public safety infrastructure, and familiarity with the similarities and divergence of epidemiologic and criminal investigation . Finally, effective prevention and control strategies must cut across artificial animal and human boundaries, and provide for the seamless connection between animal health and human health [211-213]. In this unpredictable war on emerging infectious agents, only a capabilities-based approach that uniformly applies the principles of truly integrated animal and human health surveillance, detection, and reporting will serve the public interest. A community surveillance system that is reliant solely on humans will not provide early health warning, but will instead record history.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)