46th World Congress on Microbiology
Scientific Advisor Royal Dutch Navy, Netherlands
Title: The threat mitigation of emerging infectious diseases globally
Biography: Stef Stienstra
As curative medicine gets, compared to public health systems, generally more attention and financial support, particularly the underdeveloped countries are not well enough prepared for outbreaks of infectious diseases. In the past several Western public health institutes, like the French ‘Institut Pasteur’, the Dutch ‘Tropeninstituut‘, and many others, were prominent surveyors of contagious diseases and very active in the international mitigation of infectious diseases. In the last decennia, the investments in worldwide public health unfortunately have been reduced compared to curative healthcare. With the recent Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa, we see a new wave of growing interest to invest in Worldwide Public Health to prevent spreading of highly contagious diseases. Most public health systems in developing countries do not have proper diagnostic laboratories, quarantine procedures and treatment facilities. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) helping to fight outbreaks are often better trained in curative treatments and have less skills with biological (bioweapon) threats in which military have more experience. I acclaim Bill Gates’ announcement in the New England Journal of Medicine (Bill Gates, NEJM, March 19, 2015) that all countries should identify trained military resources that would be available for outbreaks and work together to fight epidemics. New diagnostic technologies will help us worldwide in the defence against emerging contagious diseases. Especially in PCR-based systems, which are nowadays quite ruggedized, are very promising in the identification of potential outbreaks of infectious diseases in wildlife, cattle and/or the human population in developing countries.