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Infectious Disease Outbreak in Colombia

A mural of a girl wearing a mask is on a wall in Colombia with a Colombian guard in a mask next to it

Case Overview

The threat of a potentially large-scale pandemic caused by a mysterious new disease in Colombia necessitates a global coordinated response.  

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The Situation


Several crises over the past decade have highlighted the inadequacy of global health governance and pandemic preparedness. Globalization and its consequences—among them population growth, global warming, urbanization, and easier trade and travel—have all contributed to outbreaks of infectious disease. Since 2000, a series of epidemics, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H1N1, Zika, and Ebola, have taken a significant toll, prompting experts to call for increased investment in global health security—efforts to help prepare countries prevent, detect, and respond to epidemic and potentially pandemic diseases. Despite these calls, progress toward increased pandemic preparedness has been insufficient, a fact painfully underscored by the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Moreover, debate still exists over the proper strategies to address outbreaks of infectious disease, with national health officials often divided over the proper way to respond to a certain outbreak. With this division, and coordination of international pandemic response still ad hoc, an infectious disease with a greater lethality than those seen in the past decade could have devastating consequences. With a mysterious outbreak wreaking havoc in northern Colombia and threatening to spill over into already unstable Venezuela, fears grow that this outbreak has the potential to become a widespread epidemic or even a global pandemic if it cannot be contained. The UN Security Council needs to decide whether a coordinated international response is needed and what type of action, such as the enforcement of trade and travel recommendations, the outbreak necessitates. 




  • Global health   
  • Pandemic preparedness   
  • Weak states  
  • Multilateralism  
  • Public opinion   



  • Pandemic preparedness   
  • Global health governance   
  • Colombian health-care system
  • Regional security in the Americas 

See Also:

The Pandemic and Beyond:

A series of news-based pop-up cases covering the widespread impact of the pandemic

A health worker in a hazmat suit prepares to test someone

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