--> Gill Blog: SARS: Down But Still a Threat

Gill Blog

Monday, May 30, 2005

SARS: Down But Still a Threat

Following the worldwide outbreak of SARS in 2003, the NIC, the National Intelligence Council, prepared an Intelligence Community Assessment, titled SARS: Down But Still a Threat, highlighting the evolution of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the potential implications for the United States.

Even though SARS infected and killed far fewer people than other common infectious diseases such as influenza, malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, it had "a disproportionately large economic and political impact because it spread in areas with broad international commercial links and received intense media attention as a mysterious new illness that seemed able to go anywhere and hit anyone."

The National Intelligence Council's assessment called for building better defenses against disease generally, including pandemic influenza and HIV/AIDS.
The emergence of SARS has sparked widespread calls for greater international surveillance and cooperation against such diseases. SARS has demonstrated to even skeptical government leaders that health matters in profound social, econominc, and political ways.

Political leaders, the public, and healthcare professionals should be prepared for this continuing threat, even when it's not the focus of intense media attention. For more information, refer to the WHO and the CDC websites about SARS from which important lessons must be learned.