chapter  3
45 Pages

Early Warning Outbreak Detection and Alert: A Technique Postcolonial Knowledge of Outbreak

The consolidation of EID as a problem within global public health circles posed a challenge to the routine form and operation of international infectious disease control. The many reports about EID analyzed in the previous chapter (Lac Tremblant Declaration Declaration 1994; WHO 1994, 1995, 1996) all had a leading recommendation for enhanced global surveillance of infectious diseases. Emerging Infections (IOM 1992) and the CDC’s Addressing Emerging Infectious Disease Threats (CDC 1994) sharply criticized WHO’s leadership in the area and pressured WHO to establish EID as an organizational priority in efforts to improve global health surveillance. These reports and later WHO consultations on EID were noteworthy for the epistemological conservatism of their vision for enhanced global infectious disease control. The suggestions for responding to the new terrain of uncertain health risks problematized by the EID concept rarely strayed from the authority of the epidemiological case report. That is, they privileged communications of disease diagnoses or of agents (e.g., toxins) causing disease that were made to public health authorities in voluntary or mandatory conformity with the requirements of offi cial reporting systems. For the most part, reports from the consultations expressed generic calls for enhanced training and expansion of existing international networks of epidemiological communication and diagnostic/laboratory capacities.