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Averting MERS-Cov Emerging Threat and Epidemics: The Importance of Community Alertness and Preparedness Policies and Programs

Africa being part of the global village is challenged by unprecedented and persistent emerging infectious diseases threats and outbreaks. Recent memories of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks in Saudi Arabia (2012) and South Korea (2015), West Africa Ebola viral disease outbreak and public health humanitarian crisis (2014) and China’s SARS outbreaks. Various differences and similarities between these diseases have triggered serious concerns and magnified that similar outbreaks could occur anywhere in the world with lingering health complications, socio-political and economic crises. Yet, there is dearth of knowledge on MERS-CoV reservoirs, risk factors of emergence, infectivity and transmissibility in Africa and globally. This paper highlights forward approaches and key activities to the African Union, governments and institutions and all stakeholders including public-private partnership. These play paramount roles in providing information and support to address MERS-CoV and other emerging infectious diseases research gaps, (2) promoting community alertness and resilience in preparedness, (3) fostering effective and coordinated logistics in risk communication, planning and response in MERS-CoV public mobilization literacy and awareness, advocacy and mitigation. There is an urgent need to establish an integrated and strategic evidence-based local and nationwide surveillance and response capacity, (5) better understand the MERS-CoV animal reservoir(s) and human-human infectivity and transmissibility, and (6) implement informed community-based or national threat and epidemics actionable emergency insurance facility and compensation schemes. Conclusively, improved early warning, active and integrated epidemiological and genomic surveillance indicators data gathering to inform and guide effective and community resilience capability in consolidating and upholding knowledge gains from “One Health Surveillance Network” and best practices in achieving “One Health” and global health security.


Ernest Tambo, Tamiru Oljira, Olalubi A. Oluwasogo, Emad I. M. Khater and Zhou Xiao-Nong

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