Future pandemics

Transnational health challenges in East and South-East Asia

Authored by: Allen Yu-Hung Lai , Adam Kamradt-Scott , Richard Coker

East and South-East Asia

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436396
eBook ISBN: 9780203146026
Adobe ISBN:


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Over the past few decades, East and South-East Asia have experienced several outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) that have contributed to widespread human suffering and death, as well as adversely affecting the region’s economic and social well-being. For example, the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak that spread to over 30 countries with over 8,000 cases of infection and 800 fatalities cost the region an estimated US $60 billion in economic damage and also contributed to social disruption, such as school closures (Asian Development Bank Outlook 2003). Similarly, the emergence of a new strain of H5N1 (influenza A) initially in Hong Kong and its subsequent spread across Asia, Europe and into Africa had resulted at the time of writing in approximately 600 human cases and almost 360 deaths, and cost the region billions of dollars in lost revenue from poultry sales (Garrett and Fidler 2007). Even though the disease outbreaks were eventually contained through an array of public health counter-measures, and influenza H5N1 has not (yet) developed human-to-human transmission capability, there remains much that countries in this region can do in order to respond better to future pandemics.

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