1/15/16

Global health is an unpredictable, ever-changing force of nature. For example, no one predicted the Ebola epidemic before it’s outbreak in 2014 and continued to claim lives throughout 2015. And so, as 2016 begins, readers might well wonder what harmful culprits — parasites, bacteria and viruses — are lurking out there, ready to strike on an unsuspecting world.

In the future, relatively unheard-of diseases could emerge from the shadows. Some experts are already looking suspiciously at a mosquito-borne culprit that had been a relatively small player in global health but is now alarming health officials in Brazil — the Zika virus. The incidence of Zika infection has been low but has shown signs of increase in South America and other areas of the world.

Disease doesn’t respect borders.  Other factors that have nothing to do with health-care systems that play a role in disease spread are factors such as chaos, war, natural disasters, economic downturns and refugees on the move. A challenge in 2016 will be to hold on to hard-won health advances in an ever so unstable world.

Read more on the Future of Global Health!