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Infectious Disease Outbreak in Colombia

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Case Overview

The threat of a potentially large-scale pandemic caused by a mysterious new disease in Colombia has persuaded some governments to impose strict restrictions on trade and travel to South America.

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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 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 to prevent, detect, and respond to potentially pandemic and epidemic diseases.. 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 an outbreak of Venezuelan equine encepalitis wreaking havoc in northern Colombia and threatening to spill over into already unstable Venezuela, the National Security Council needs to decide how to prioritize and pursue the U.S. interests at stake. Crucially, NSC members must decide whether and how to implement travel restrictons into the country, weighing the benefits of containing the outbreak with the potential of imposing significant costs on Colombia and Venezuela. 

 

Concepts

  • Global health
  • Pandemic preparedness
  • Weak states
  • Multilateralism
  • Oil and other natural resources
  • Public opinion

 

Issues

  • Pandemic preparedness
  • Global health governance
  • Colombian health-care system
  • Costs, benefits, and risks of military and other interventions
  • Stable flow of oil
  • Regional security in the Americas

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