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WHILE The Hot Zone, a book recounting an outbreak of Ebola virus infection among monkeys in a laboratory near Washington, DC, has hit the best seller lists and the public recently followed with anxiety the course of an outbreak of Ebola virus among humans in Zaire, a government group has just turned out a report that declares that the United States is severely limited in its ability to detect and respond to just such disease outbreaks, whether here or in foreign countries.
The report, Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, highlights the need for setting up some system of disease surveillance and control so that outbreaks like the one in Zaire are recognized early enough to institute control measures. "At the present time, a formal system of disease surveillance does not exist on a global scale," the report states.
The report was prepared by an interagency government working group convened by
Marwick C. Infectious Diseases Report Calls for Global Control. JAMA. 1995;274(8):596. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530080012004