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Richer countries should help poorer ones plan for the next pandemic

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 17 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6156
  1. Allen G P Ross, professor, tropical medicine and global health, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, Australia
  1. a.ross{at}

Time is short, and it may be cheaper in the long run

The global history of emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases shows that, on average, they have appeared about once a decade since 1940. Recently, however, the time between pandemics has become shorter, as evident from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, influenza A H5N1 (bird flu) in 2007, H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012, and Ebola virus in 2014.1 2

The nature of emerging diseases

Emerging infectious diseases are primarily zoonotic (60% of people) and viral, originating in wildlife populations from the tropics (HIV, SARS, Ebola, West Nile virus, Lyme disease).1 2 3 In sum, it seems likely that we should expect a viral organism to come from the tropics within the next five years that could potentially …

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