Epidemiology

As reported in the ASSET Strategic plan, the three Summer Schools on Science in Society related issues in Pandemics (2015, 2016, 2017) pose the main challenge of the collaborative project overall that is dealing with the intersectoral approach required by the management of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEIC), like epidemics and pandemics.

How many ways are there to communicate science in society today? New and promising communication opportunities are rising fast, thanks to different media: web, social networks, graphic journalism like the webcomic strip dedicated to the potential public health issue represented by Zika during the Olympic Games in Brazil 2016 and even a board game like Pandemic Legacy.

The third issue of the ASSET Paper Series focuses on some highly delicate topics that lie at the intersection of science, ethics, politics, and economics. In the first article of the collection, Donato Greco, epidemiologist and public health expert, discusses about the role and the management of national borders when dealing with both the spread of an infectious disease and the flow of migrants or refugees, citing the recent EU decision on such a matter.

February 1, 2017

Most emerging diseases come from animals (zoonosis). Therefore, surveillance needs to keep an eye on viruses and other microorganisms that could be transmitted to humans, acquiring the capability to spread among people. Ilaria Capua, director of the One Health Excellence Centre at the Emerging Pathogens Institute of the University of Florida, USA, recommends not letting our guard down.

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January 24, 2017

Ilaria Capua, as director of the One Health Excellence Centre at the Emerging Pathogens Institute of the University of Florida, USA, is very busy in coordinating interdisciplinary research, facing the epidemic of zika virus disease spreading in South America and the Caribbean and reaching Florida. Scientists are testing new diagnostic tests and working on vaccines, but the risk of serious birth defects in the offspring of infected pregnant women calls also for responsible procreative choices, involving lawmakers, governments and religious leaders as well.

October 11, 2016

Preparedness is also made of vigilance towards new infectious threats. Professor Bert Niesters from the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, tells ASSET an example of spontaneous cooperation among 42 laboratories from more than 20 countries in Europe in facing an emerging, dangerous infection: enterovirus D68 respiratory epidemic in 2014-2015. That experience is now going on, taking the name of EUROTYPE.

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July 29, 2016

Living poultry markets, common in China and in other eastern countries, are a typical example of how societal factors can be relevant in the spread of infectious diseases. A science-with-and-for-society approach should therefore find a way to solve this problem without fostering people hostility towards authorities. Even if central slaughters would be the simplest solutions, people would not accept them. Ivan Hung, Clinical Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant in the Department of Medicine at the Queen Mary Hospital of the University of Hong Kong, explains how this issue can be dealt with, in the fight against H7N9 bird flu virus and other new strains.

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MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence