Ebola outbreak exposed major weakness in UK handling of health emergencies

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 25 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i455
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

The United Kingdom has “serious weaknesses” in its ability to handle and respond to infectious disease emergencies, MPs have warned.

Slowness to respond, poor coordination among various expert bodies, delays in organising research, and a lack of speed in manufacturing vaccines were all exposed by the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa, says a report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.1

The committee praised the government for its “leading contribution” to the fight against the disease in west Africa and for the practical support it provided in building and staffing treatment centres and deploying troops, helicopters, and an aviation support ship.

The west African outbreak, which began in late 2013 but …

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