Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and UPMC Center for Health Security issued Top Actions the U.S. Should Take to Prepare for MERS-CoV and Other Emerging Infections. The report calls for “system-wide preparedness for potential outbreaks” and urges public health agencies to maintain infectious disease containment capabilities to prevent the entry of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and other emerging illnesses.
According to the issue brief, many of the cases in South Korea’s recent outbreak of MERS-CoV can be traced back to healthcare facilities. This demonstrates the need for the United States to strengthen its infection control and prevention capacity.
In the past, the United States’ infectious disease containment capabilities have weakened after a crisis. The report insists that public health officials and healthcare facilities do not become complacent.
Other specific recommendations include:
- Strengthening communication strategies
- Incorporating health alerts into practice
- Routinely taking complete travel histories upon intake and be prepared to promptly isolate potential cases needing evaluation
- Building upon Ebola and all-hazards preparedness in the healthcare system
- Modernizing disease surveillance
- Advancing shared framework for quarantine decisions