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Applying Historical Responses to Infectious Disease for Future Disease Control

The control of infectious disease has been a concern of human populations throughout the record of human history. The more recent historical events of severe acute respiratory syndrome- coronavirus (SARS) and the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) highlighted the need for public health efforts which could effectively control the spread of infectious disease in the increasingly globalized contemporary environment. To prevent future epidemics of this kind, more effective disease controls must be identified and included in future preparedness efforts. The SARS and EVD epidemics not only accentuated the weaknesses of public health response, but also resulted in the discovery of interventions with promise in providing benefit to future infectious disease responses. Specifically discussed here are two forms of intervention: Global Disease Surveillance and Isolation and Quarantine. Using quarantine without isolation and vice versa may do more harm than good. Response in the future to events like the SARS and EVD outbreaks should not consist of only using these individual disease controls as solitary tools, but together as a cohesive system, also utilizing local expertise. Quarantine and isolation can be beneficial to both the individual and the community when properly implemented. Utilizing local cooperation in quarantine, isolation, and surveillance is imperative to any successful response. Understanding how these relationships work in concert will aid in the future better implementation of these disease control measures.


 Christiana R Dallas and Curtis H Harris

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