An outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has recently been reported in South Korea and China. Frightening, given that nearly thirty percent of those that contract the virus die and that in this age of air travel, any person – and the viruses he or she is carrying – can move across the world in a matter of hours.
Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by a bacteria that can lie dormant in soil for decades. While anthrax occurs most often in humans handling animals (or animal products) infected with the bacteria, there have been several instances of anthrax being used as a bioterror agent. There has been a lull in anthrax coverage in recent years, but it remains an extremely dangerous bioterrorism weapon that should remain top of mind.
The influenza pandemic of 2009 and more recent threats involving Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola revealed national preparedness gaps, a topic explored extensively at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston. Remedies are essential to avoid future high-consequence emergencies that could threaten large segments of our populations, economies and infrastructure.