• IMA sites
  • IMAJ services
  • IMA journals
  • Follow us
  • Alternate Text Alternate Text
עמוד בית
Fri, 19.07.24

Search results


June 2015
Shay Weiss PhD, Shmuel Yitzhaki PhD and Shmuel C. Shapira MD MPH

Abstract

During recent months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the occurrence of three major biosafety incidents, raising serious concern about biosafety and biosecurity guideline implementation in the most prestigious agencies in the United States: the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). These lapses included: a) the mishandling of Bacillus anthracis spores potentially exposing dozens of employees to anthrax; b) the shipment of low pathogenic influenza virus unknowingly cross-contaminated with a highly pathogenic strain; and c) an inventory lapse of hundreds of samples of biological agents, including six vials of variola virus kept in a cold storage room for decades, unnoticed. In this review we present the published data on these events, report the CDC inquiry’s main findings, and discuss the key lessons to be learnt to ensure safer scientific practice in biomedical and microbiological service and research laboratories.

January 2003
M. Huerta, R.D. Balicer and A. Leventhal

During September 2002, Israel began its current revaccination program against smallpox, targeting previously vaccinated “first responders” among medical and emergency workers. In order to identify the potential strengths and weaknesses of this program and the conditions under which critical decisions were reached, we conducted a SWOT analysis of the current Israeli revaccination program, designed to identify its intrinsic strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities for its success and threats against it. SWOT analysis – a practical tool for the study of public health policy decisions and the social and political contexts in which they are reached - revealed clear and substantial strengths and weaknesses of the current smallpox revaccination program, intrinsic to the vaccine itself. A number of threats were identified that may jeopardize the success of the current program, chief among them the appearance of severe complications of vaccination. Our finding of a lack of a generation of knowledge on smallpox vaccination urgently calls for improved physician education and dissipation of misconceptions that are prevalent in the public today.

July 2002
Michael Huerta, MD, MPH and Alex Leventhal, MD, MPH

Recent events have drawn world attention to “mythological diseases” such as anthrax, plague and smallpox, which have been out of the spotlight for some decades. Much of our current knowledge of epidemic intervention and disease prevention was acquired over history through our experience with these very diseases, such that the sudden panic over the re-emergence of these historically well-known entities is perplexing. Over time, changes in the balance of the epidemiologic triangle have driven each of these disease systems towards a new equilibrium with which we are not familiar. While the pathogens may be similar, these are not the diseases of the past. These new disease systems are insufficiently described by the classic epidemiologic triangle, which lacks a dimension necessary for providing a valid model of the real-world effects of bioterror-related disease. Interactions within the classic epidemiologic triangle are now refracted through the prism of the global environment, where they are mediated, altered, and often amplified. Bioterror-associated diseases must be analyzed through the epidemiologic pyramid. The added dimension represents the global environment, which plays an integral part in the effects of the overall disease system. The classic triangle still exists, and continues to function at the base of the new model to describe actual agent transmission, but the overall disease picture should be viewed from the height of the fourth apex of the pyramid. The epidemiologic pyramid also serves as a practical model for guiding effective interventional measures.

Paul E. Slater, MD, MPH, Emilia Anis, MD, MPH and Alex Leventhal, MD, MPH, MPA

Because of its high case-fatality rate, its very high transmission potential, and the worldwide shortage of effective vaccine, smallpox tops international lists of over a dozen possible bioterror and biologic warfare agents. In a scenario involving aerosol variola virus release, tens to hundreds of first-generation cases would ensue, as would hundreds to thousands of subsequent cases resulting from person-to-person transmission. A smallpox outbreak in Israel must not be regarded as a doomsday event: the methods of smallpox outbreak control are known and will be implemented. The rapidity with which organized outbreak control measures are competently executed will determine how many generations of cases occur before the outbreak is brought under control. Planning, vaccine stockpiling, laboratory expansion, professional training and public education, all carried out well in advance of an epidemic, will minimize the number of casualties. The reinstitution of routine smallpox vaccination in Israel, as in other countries, must be given serious consideration, since it has the potential for eliminating the threat of smallpox as a bioterror agent.

January 2001
Paul E. Slater, MD, MPH, Alex Leventhal, MD, MPH, MPA and Emilia Anis, MD, MPH
Legal Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or medical advice on any matter.
The IMA is not responsible for and expressly disclaims liability for damages of any kind arising from the use of or reliance on information contained within the site.
© All rights to information on this site are reserved and are the property of the Israeli Medical Association. Privacy policy

2 Twin Towers, 35 Jabotinsky, POB 4292, Ramat Gan 5251108 Israel