Parallel Session 1.1

Lessons Learned in Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID)

1 February 2018

14:30 - 16:30 hrs




Several outbreaks since 2000 have shaped the way in which we prepare for and respond to infectious diseases outbreaks.  The emergence of SARS CoV in the first years of this century was a wakeup call to the global health community followed by H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks and the first influenza pandemic in the 21st century. The renewed IHR (2005) marked a major change in the approach to global health security, going beyond specific diseases to apply to all health risks, irrespective of their origin or source.  


To present and discuss the management of a selection of recent crisis in different settings and draw lessons for the future. The session will tackle what works, what doesn’t work from the political, public health, social and economic perspectives.  

The following events will be discussed:

  • Ebola : management of local and extended outbreaks: comparison of local outbreaks (DRC Uganda) and the epidemic in West Africa  (2014-2015) with a particular emphasis on :
    •  Community engagement and the socio-cultural aspects of outbreak response;
    • Cross-border collaboration between neighboring countries (surveillance, contact tracing, case management);
    •  The role of international assistance;
    •  Clinical management and vaccine.
  • MERS: limiting spread example of Kingdome of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea and Thailand, managing the regional and global aspects of MERS-CoV, with a particular emphasis on:
    •  Monitoring the health of international travelers and migrant workers;
    •  Hospital preparedness
  •  Zika and yellow fever  : managing vector borne outbreaks and emerging infectious diseases in Brazil / Angola (Yellow fever) and mitigating the risk of international spread (example of Portugal), with a particular emphasis on:
    •  Controlling vectors and other environmental factors;
    •  Vaccination and other preventive measures;
    • Effective communication to address public fear and potential panic.
  •  Also potentially discussed : From SARS to influenza A(H7N9); lessons learned in China, with a particular emphasis on:
    •  Addressing the human-animal interface and cross-sectoral collaboration;
    •  Resolving conflicting interests between the commercial and public health sectors
    • Strengthening preparedness based on experience of past outbreaks

Keywords: Ebola, Zika, MERS, Influenza, contact tracing, clinical management, migrations.


Ronald St. John

former Director General, Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response

Sitata Corporation



Joao Paulo Toledo

Director, surveillance department

Ministry of Health


Francisco George

Director General for Health

Ministry of Health



Documents: PS1.1 Lessons Learned in Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID)
Short Paper: