Epidemics Explained


Ebola, Zika, the flu, and now the novel coronavirus in China: Infectious disease outbreaks are scary, complex, increasingly global, and full of unknowns. As healthcare workers, public health officials, scientists, governments and private partners rush to mount fast responses, the public tries to catch up with the latest developments in a media ecosystem rife with misinformation. On this page, the Harvard Global Health Institute hopes to provide context and clarity by connecting new outbreaks with ongoing research and pandemic preparedness efforts.

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Outbreak Week 2018

It’s a new chapter for pandemic preparedness: In Africa, Ebola continues to demonstrate gaps in outbreak response and containment. In Western nations, misinformation and junk news are driving people’s attitudes towards vaccines and epidemics. In a world still divided by drastic economic differences, some countries are withholding information about emerging pathogens to apply political pressure. Then again, there are new initiatives, road maps and funding mechanisms that are overcoming political and procedural obstacles. In September 2018, the Harvard Global Health Institute hosted Outbreak Week, a week of explorations of these questions, inspired by the centennial of the 1918 influenza pandemic. From how epidemic responses are financed to why Merck is hesitant to repeat the experiences of developing an Ebola vaccine, this section guides your through videos, twitter summaries & more from this extraordinary, multi-disciplinary deep dive on pandemic preparedness.