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The Ripple Effect of Climate Change on Epidemic Risk

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While it is important to take note of the impact of climate change on epidemic risk, it is equally important to prepare for its impact on global health and the global economy. In addition to affecting the health and well being of populations worldwide, the financial toll of these epidemics can also be devastating. According to a report from the United Nations, Zika could end up costing Latin America and the Caribbean up to $18 billion. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 required over $5 billion in emergency funds to control.

The global health community has largely come to realize that public health preparedness is critical to responding efficiently to infectious disease outbreaks; however, the health community has been slower to recognize that social and economic stability in the wake of epidemics are also needed to ensure community resilience. The World Bank has taken a step to formalize the transfer of funds through risk transfer mechanisms through the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, meeting resilience goals by deploying money to affected areas to fight outbreaks, and our work is centered around helping industry and governments manage and quantify infectious disease risk. Because regardless of weather patterns, insights into epidemics and mechanisms for ensuring adequate financial support is critical for managing this risk.  

Since the public health community agrees that the question is not if another outbreak will happen…but when, the steps we take in the coming years to prepare for and mitigate the increasing frequency of outbreaks will determine the broader implications these diseases have on our world.
About the Author
Dr. Ayscue is the Director of Epidemiology at Metabiota. He is an applied epidemiologist with over 10 years of experience in infectious disease outbreak response, surveillance, and analysis. Before joining Metabiota, he served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the US Centers for Disease Control, where he developed effective surveillance systems for monitoring infectious diseases. In his roles at CDC and the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Ayscue has cultivated expertise in responding to outbreaks, including deployments for Ebola, MERS, measles, meningitis, and emerging diseases of unknown origin. He has previously worked as a technical advisor for the Wildlife Conservation Society, designing avian influenza surveillance and response in Southeast Asia. He has been recognized by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as an emerging leader in biosecurity and by the National Academy of Sciences as a Mirzayan Fellow in Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Ayscue holds a BS degree from Emory University and a DVM. from Cornell University. 

About Metabiota

Metabiota is the pioneer in comprehensive risk analytics that help organizations and countries build resilience to epidemics and protect global public health. Built on a strong foundation of scientific expertise, including a worldwide network of on-the-ground experts, Metabiota delivers actionable, data-driven analytics to help countries and corporations mitigate complex health issues. With a strategic global presence and sustained partnerships, Metabiota’s agile approach helps identify, analyze and transfer the risk associated with biological threats. The company’s international footprint includes operations in nearly 20 countries and offices in San Francisco, Canada, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For more information, visit
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Influenza A (H3N2) has caused most of the illnesses in this severe flu season, but influenza B is becoming increasingly responsible for more infections as the flu season continues to hit the United States.