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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




McNeil Jr., Donald, G.,“Polio in Nigeria Traced to Mutating Vaccine.” NYT, A15, October 11, 2007,

Vaccination, Africa


Associated Press, “Uganda: Ebola Outbreak Kills Medics.” New York Times, December 7, 2007

  1. -highly contagious, doctors didn’t know what they were dealing with/public health response.

Ebola, Africa


Chandré Gould, Address, 31 March 2008, Budapest, “Biosecurity in South and East Africa.”

Dual Use, Africa


Ortu, Giuseppina, Mounier-Jack, Sandra, Coker, Richard, “Pandemic influenza preparedness in Africa is a profound challenge for an already distressed region: analysis of national preparedness plans,Health Policy and Planning 2008 23(3):161-169.

  1. Thirty-five of 53 African countries now have national strategic pandemic influenza preparedness plans.
  2. Many plans are developmental in nature, and although they place particular emphasis on early detection of animal outbreak and early containment of animal outbreaks, attention to human containment is less developed.
  3. The health care sector is ill-prepared for pandemic influenza, and contingency planning for essential services is largely absent from plans.
  4. Operational planning is almost entirely absent from countries’ plans for pandemic influenza.

Pandemic, Flu, Africa


Associated Press, “Polio vaccine blamed for outbreaks in Nigeria Mutation of live virus in oral doses linked to 124 cases this year, experts say,” MSN, Aug. 14, 2009,

Vaccination, Africa


Brown, Matthew Hay, “Hopkins and Catholic Group to Shield World Against Malaria,” Baltimore Sun, p. 1, Nov. 6, 2009.

  1. “two Baltimore institutions tapped for a five-year; $100 million project to help combat the mosquito borne disease. the school will work with Catholic Relief Services.”
  2. “Malaria kills up to 3 million people a year, the great majority of them in Africa, and most of them children under 5 years old. The disease can cause brain damage or cognitive and learning deficiencies in children, according to the Global Program on malaria, and can account for up to 40 percent of a country’s health expenditures.”
  3. “Particularly labor-intensive are plans to design individualized programs on a country-by-country basis, for greatest efficiency and impact.”

Malaria, Developing Countries, Africa, Public Health


Editors, “War in the fifth domain”, 3 July 2010 Economist Last checked March 8, 2011.

  1. “After land, sea, air and space, warfare has entered the fifth domain: cyberspace.”
  2. “Mandate is to conduct ‘“full-spectrum”’ operations—to defend American military networks and attack other countries’ systems.”
  3. “Britain, too, has set up a cyber-security policy outfit, and an “operations centre” based in GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA.”
  4. “Many other countries are organizing for cyberwar, among them Russia, Israel, and North Korea.”
  5. “Cyber-security, envisages a catastrophic breakdown within 15 minutes.”
  6. “The effects of full-blown cyberwar are much like nuclear attack.”
  7. “Growing dependence on computers increases the harm they can cause.”
  8. “Weakly governed swathes of Africa are being connected up to fibre-optic cables, potentially creating new havens for cyber-criminals.”
  9. “Mr Obama has quoted a figure of $1 trillion lost last year to cybercrime–a bigger underworld than the drugs trade…”
  10. “The ostentatious hackers and virus-writers who once wrecked computers for fun are all but gone, replaced by criminal gangs seeking to harvest data.”
  11. ‘“given enough time, motivation and funding, a determined adversary will always–always–be able to penetrate a targeted system.”’
  12. “China,… wholesale espionage, attacking the computers of… Western defence contractors … taking classified details of the F-35 fighter, …”
  13. “Western spooks think China deploys the most assiduous, and most shameless, cyberspies, but Russian ones are probably more skilled and subtle.”
  14. “Deterrence in cyber-warfare is more uncertain than, say, in nuclear strategy: there is no mutually assured destruction, the dividing line between criminality and war is blurred…”

Cybersecurity, China, Africa, Russia, North Korea, Israel


Kron, Josh, “Uganda Seen as a Front Line in Bioterrorism.” NYT A8, November 11, 2010.

  1. Uganda Virus Research Institute
  2. “need to tighten the security of vulnerable public health laboratories in East Africa” – Andrew C. Weber, Asst. to Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.
  3. “preventing terrorist acquisition of dangerous pathogens, the seed material for biological bioweapons, is a security imperative.”
  4. Shabab insurgent group – “attention on East Africa as a fronteir in American security interests.”
  5. warm, wet environment fuels biothreats of anthrax, marburg, and ebola.
  6. anthrax- killed hundred of hippos in recent years
  7. marburg- tourist died after contracting disease at a natl park
  8. ebola- outbreak 2007- killed over 20 people
  9. relaxed security and poor funding/financing creates a security risk.

Biodefense, Anthrax, Bioterrorism, Lab Safety, Public Health, Marburg, Biosafety, Ebola, Africa


Hoffer, Steven, “Lax Security at Ugandan Anthrax Labs Poses US Security Threat,” AOL News Surge Desk, November 11, 2010.

  1. “Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana visited Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries on Wednesday as part of a three-country tour of East Africa assessing the ‘next generation’ of threats to American security, according to The New York Times.”
  2. “The ministry’s laboratories and other similar facilities in the region are a U.S. security concern because they present an easy target for terrorist organizations to obtain virus samples like anthrax, Ebola and Marburg, as well as other dangerous materials. Security at the facilities is described as lax at best, with dangerous materials stored in unlocked refrigerators.”
  3. “Uganda is considered both a breeding ground for deadly viruses and a hotbed of terrorist activity. Hundreds of hippopotamuses have died from exposure to anthrax in recent years, and the nation has also recorded deaths from Ebola and Marburg.”
  4. “The prevalence of disease, combined with the recent suicide bombings by the Islamist insurgent al-Shabab movement during the final match of this summer’s World Cup, has captured American attention and concern about the region.”

Anthrax, Lab Safety, Biosafety, Ebola, Africa


Gross, Jenny, “South African appears in court on terror charges,” February 14, 2011. AP

  1. “… Brian Roach, … The 64-year-old Roach, who owns an engineering firm outside Johannesburg, appeared in a Johannesburg court Monday after his arrest Saturday on terror charges.”
  2. “‘We have the expertise and resources to do this very effectively and will be able to devastate the industry in the U.K. which will cost billions to the economy,’ Roach wrote in an e-mail to the British government. ‘We will devastate your farms and then we will then take the problem to your coconspirator the USA.’”
  3. “On Oct. 6, Roach wrote in an e-mail: ‘We are not habitual criminals but have been victim of a situation which was entirely out of our control and attributed to corrupt and incompetent politicians.’”
  4. “Police charged Roach with terrorist activity and money laundering. The gray-haired man, married with four grown children, appeared briefly in court Monday, wearing glasses and a black fleece jacket.
  5. “Police searched Roach’s home and other sites, but found no evidence he would have been capable of carrying out his threats.”

Bioterrorism, Africa, South AfricaU.K., Law Enforcement


University of California – Los AngelesH1N1 Flu Virus Prevalent in Animals in Africa,” Medical News Today, September 26, 2011 Last checked 10/5/2011

  1. “UCLA life scientists and their colleagues have discovered the first evidence of the H1N1 virus in animals in Africa.”
  2. “‘Africa is ground zero for a new pandemic. Many people are in poor health there, and disease can spread very rapidly without authorities knowing about it.’”
  3. “The pigs in Cameroon, the researchers say, were infected by humans.”
  4. “Any virus in any part of the world can reach another continent within days by air travel.”
  5. “‘The fact that pigs in Africa are infected with the H1N1 flu virus illustrates the remarkable interconnectedness of the modern world with respect to diseases.’”
  6. “The discovery of H1N1 in African swine is also important because it shows how farming practices can trigger disease outbreaks and suggests opportunities for improving human and livestock health.”
  7. “Viruses in pigs can mix into a much more virulent strain that can spread extremely fast.”
  8. “When different strains of influenza are mixed in pigs, such as an avian strain with a human strain, you can get new hybrid strains that may affect humans much more severely and can potentially produce a pandemic that can allow human-to-human infection.”

Zoonotic, Flu, Pandemic, Africa


White, Nicholas, “A Vaccine for Malaria,” The New England Journal of Medicine, October 18, 2011 Last Checked 10/19/2011

  1. “It is becoming increasingly clear that we really do have the first effective vaccine against a parasitic disease in humans.”
  2. “If there are no unforeseen disasters, the RTS, S/AS01 Plasmodium falciparum malaria vaccine should become available in just over 3 years.”
  3. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has already taken the unusual step of indicating that it could recommend this first malaria vaccine for use in some African countries as early as 2015, depending on the full phase 3 trial results that will become available in 2014.”
  4. “The vaccine has been developed by a public–private partnership between GlaxoSmithKline and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) Malaria Vaccine Initiative, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, primarily for use in infants and young children in sub-Saharan Africa.”
  5. “In this issue of the Journal, the RTS,S Clinical Trials Partnership provides an interim report of a large, multicenter phase 3 trial of this vaccine.”
  6. “A total of 15,460 children in two age categories — 6 to 12 weeks and 5 to 17 months — were enrolled.”
  7. “The report describes vaccine efficacy against P. falciparum malaria in the first 6000 of 8923 children in the older age category, together with an evaluation of the first 250 cases of severe malaria from the two age groups.”
  8. “The very low rate of death from malaria in this large trial (only 10 deaths directly attributed to malaria) testifies to the benefits of providing early diagnosis and effective anti-malarial treatment.”
  9. “An assessment of an 18-month booster dose will not be available until 2014.”

Vaccination, Malaria, Drug Resistance, Africa, WHO


Beaumont, Peter and Domokos, John, “Egyptian military using ‘more dangerous’ teargas on Tahrir Square protesters” 23 November 2011, theguardian,, Last Checked 23 November 2011.

  1. “Egyptian security forces are believed to be using a powerful incapacitating gas against civilian protesters in Tahrir Square following multiple cases of unconsciousness and epileptic-like convulsions among those exposed.”
  2. “Suspicion has fallen on two other agents: CN gas, which was the crowd control gas used by the US before CS was brought into use; and CR gas.”
  3. “Both gases can be more dangerous than CS and can cause unconsciousness and seizures in certain circumstances. Concern began to emerge over the use of more powerful incapacitating agents after reports of gassed protesters falling unconscious and having attacks of jerking spasms. Those who have experienced the more powerful gas have described it as smelling different and causing an unusual burning sensation on the skin. Others have complained of rashes.”
  4. “We have been attacked with four different kinds of gas bombs,” said Dr Ahmad Sa’ad. “I have never seen these ones before because the patients come in with convulsions. I’ve never seen patients like that before. You can see it yourself. You can be 100 metres away from the gas bombs [and it will still affect you].”
  5. “Another concern, raised by the group Campaign Against Arms Trade, is over the age of some of the CS gas that has been used by Egyptian security forces. Gas canisters more than five years old can become more toxic, and some canisters that have been used in the last few days are up to a decade old.”
  6. “Describing the effects of gas, activist Ahmed Salah said he was still coughing blood 15 hours after being exposed to it. “I was wearing a gas mask. My eyes and mouth were covered as was my skin. As soon as the gas came people around me fell on to the ground in convulsions. I felt very weak and dizzy. I couldn’t focus and I started coughing. Coughing up blood. “People have seen three different kinds of canisters. Most are marked CS but some have seen canisters marked with the letters CR and there is a third canister that has no markings at all.”
  7. “In a statement put out via Twitter, Ramez Reda Moustafa, a neurologist at Cairo’s Ain Shams University, described seeing cases where exposure to gas had “caused extra-pyramidal symptoms [involuntary jerks in extremities and trunk mimicking a convulsive seizure, oculogyric crisis, etc] and little respiratory distress”. He added: “The type of gas used is still uncertain but it is certainly very acidic and is not the regular teargas used in January.”
  8. “Karim Ennarah, who works with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, has been trying to collect evidence about the gases used in Tahrir and the surrounding area since the weekend, and in what circumstances, amid claims the gases have been used in a way that violates international norms.”We are still trying to put together what has been going on. We have seen different symptoms and reactions to gas from what we saw in January,” said Ennarah. “I still have not seen a canister with CR markings but there are accounts of people seeing them.”But we can’t say that it has been confirmed. We have seen more and more videos, however, of people suffering seizures.”
  9. “What is clear is that gas has been used differently and far more heavily than was used at the beginning of the year and in enclosed areas like Mohammed Mahmoud. The basic principle of the way the gas is being used is not for riot control but as a punishment and that raises questions of violations of its use.”

Chemical, Africa, Military, Public Health


Editors, “Guinea Approves Chemical Weapons Law” 22 November 2011, GSN,, Last checked 29 November 2011.

  1. “The government of Guinea on Friday approved legislation prohibiting the production, holding and employment of chemical weapons in the African state, Guineenews reported.”
  2. “The move by the Guinean National Transition Council is in keeping with the nation’s obligations as a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
  3. “The law also addresses trade, production and usage of certain chemical materials.”

Chemical, WMD, Africa





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