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ProMED: An Early Warning System for Emerging Diseases

7 Apr, 2015



The fast and effective communication of reliable information is vital during outbreaks such as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Combating infectious disease is one of the Trust’s five focus areas, which is why we are pleased to award five-years of funding to ensure ProMED emails from the International Society of Infectious Disease remain free of charge to users. ProMED Editor Larry Madoff explains the importance of this early-warning system…

This morning I received this e-mail and then searched your archives and found nothing that pertained to it. Does anyone know anything about this problem?

“Have you heard of an epidemic in Guangzhou? An acquaintance of mine from a teacher’s chat room lives there and reports that the hospitals there have been closed and people are dying.”

– from a ProMED report 10th February 2003

If you are a public health professional, odds are you first heard about the newly discovered SARS epidemic from ProMED-mail. ProMED (the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases) recently marked its 20th anniversary serving as an early warning system for emerging diseases and outbreaks around the world. ProMED pioneered the use of nontraditional sources – such as media accounts or firsthand clinician reports – for disease surveillance. It also made early use of the internet for collecting and distributing public health information.

ProMED healthmapMore recently, the public health world learned of outbreaks of avian influenza, Ebola, MERS coronavirus, Chikungunya, cholera, measles and many other threats from ProMED. Its readers received reports and daily updates on ongoing outbreaks 365 days per year.

A program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, ProMED is available to all, free of political constraints and currently counts more than 70,000 participants representing every country on the planet. In addition to its main global service, ProMED’s regional networks serve both Francophone and Anglophone Africa and provide Spanish and Portuguese language services in Latin America. New networks have been developed for the Middle East and South Asia. These regional ProMED networks help improve disease surveillance in areas that are often hotspots for disease emergence, but are poorly served by traditional public health systems.

ProMEpromedlogo_trans3D offers reports with expert commentary via email, web and social media. It has a staff of 50 located in over 30 countries and provides all of its services free of charge. Since its inception, ProMED has endorsed a “One Health” or ecological approach to understanding disease emergence recognizing that human health depends on the health of other species, both plant and animal. ProMED encourages dialogue among a diverse global health community, promoting communication among its readers.

Through its recognition of ProMED as a public good, the Wellcome Trust is helping to sustain ProMED’s essential mission while allowing for technical enhancements and research initiatives that will improve detection and allow for mitigation of infectious disease threats.

To access reports, or sign up for a free subscription, go to ProMED-mail’s website.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 16 Apr, 2015 6:04 pm

    Reblogged this on CSA.

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