Volume 19, Number 6—June 2013
SynopsisChristopher R. Braden, Scott F. Dowell, Daniel B. Jernigan, and James M. Hughes
Author affiliations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (C.R. Braden, S.F. Dowell, D.B. Jernigan); Emory University, Atlanta (J.M. Hughes)
AbstractTen years have elapsed since the World Health Organization issued its first global alert for an unexplained illness named severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the international response to this new global microbial threat. While global surveillance and response capacity for public health threats have been strengthened, critical gaps remain. Of 194 World Health Organization member states that signed on to the International Health Regulations (2005), <20% had achieved compliance with the core capacities required by the deadline in June 2012. Lessons learned from the global SARS outbreak highlight the need to avoid complacency, strengthen efforts to improve global capacity to address the next pandemic using all available 21st century tools, and support research to develop new treatment options, countermeasures, and insights while striving to address the global inequities that are the root cause of many of these challenges.