Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link Skip directly to A-Z link Skip directly to A-Z link
Volume 2, Number 1—January 1996
News and Notes

WHO Establishes New Rapid-Response Unit for Emerging Infectious Diseases

Philippe Stroot
Author affiliation: World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Cite This Article

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established a new rapid-response unit to control and prevent the growing incidence of new and reemerging diseases worldwide. The unit's focus will be improved containment of disease outbreaks, such as that caused by the deadly Ebola virus, which struck Zaire in 1995.

The WHO unit will be called the Division of Emerging Viral and Bacterial Diseases Surveillance and Control (EMC). It will be capable of mobilizing staff from WHO headquarters in Geneva and from the organization's regional offices.

In addition to mobilizing WHO's own technical staff and expertise, EMC will coordinate the activities of the agency's traditional partners, for example, its international network of collaborating centers, bilateral donors, expert advisers, and nongovernmental organizations.

Teams equipped to implement epidemic control measures will be placed on-site within 24 hours' notification of an outbreak. This strategy, when implemented in Zaire, not only rapidly contained the recent Ebola outbreak but also prevented its spread to Kinshasa, the capital city of 2 million.

Among EMC's goals are 1) to strengthen local surveillance and disease control so that countries can develop the early warning systems needed to detect emerging or reemerging diseases through innovative field epidemiology and public health laboratory training programs and 2) to continue WHO's activities in developing a network of public health laboratories to strengthen regional and international collaboration in outbreak detection and control.

EMC will continue to expand WHO's network—termed WHONET—that detects and monitors antibiotic resistance worldwide. WHO will use the information collected to continue to advocate research and development of new antibiotics to replace those that are no longer effective.

For further information on WHO's rapid-response unit, contact

Philippe Stroot, Health Communications and Public Relations, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; Phone: 41-22-791-2535; Fax: 41-22-791-4858


Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid0201.960114

Table of Contents – Volume 2, Number 1—January 1996

EID Search Options
presentation_01 Advanced Article Search – Search articles by author and/or keyword.
presentation_01 Articles by Country Search – Search articles by the topic country.
presentation_01 Article Type Search – Search articles by article type and issue.


Page created: December 20, 2010
Page updated: December 20, 2010
Page reviewed: December 20, 2010
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.