World health report

Executive summary

Emerging issues in infectious disease control

WHO has strengthened its capacity to combat new and re-emerging infectious diseases, and can now mobilize staff and place teams on site within 24 hours of notification of an outbreak, together with the supplies and equipment required to implement epidemic control measures, as was the case with the outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Zaire in 1995. To prepare for such emergencies, WHO uses innovative field technology and public health training programmes to support country surveillance and disease control, and is developing a network of public health laboratories to strengthen regional and international collaboration in the detection and control of outbreaks.

As part of its work in detecting and monitoring resistance to antimicrobials, WHO has established an information system (WHONET) to support the global surveillance of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents, with the participation, by the end of 1995, of 177 laboratories in 31 countries or areas.