FORECAST Persistent factors that contribute to outbreaks, including migration, population density, economic hardship, climate and conflict, will continue to create a breeding ground for epidemics and endemic disease. Countries in the Caribbean and South and Central America will remain vulnerable to epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases. Their economic impact will compound pre-existing political, economic and social stressors in these regions. Unrest in Ukraine and a surge of refugees from the war-torn Middle East will put Southern, Central and Eastern Europe at risk for localized disease outbreaks. While the spread of most potential pathogens will likely be limited, political responses to them could be far-reaching. The world watched transfixed as West Africa battled the Ebola virus during the epidemic that peaked in 2014. Borders and airports closed, but a few cases managed to escape the continent, creating international panic. Even though the threat of a global Ebola epidemic was quite low, given how difficult the disease is to transmit, its economic impact on the small nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continues to be very real. The Ebola outbreak was not the first to capture the media’s attention. Before it came the Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak in Saudi Arabia, the… Read full this story
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