The threat from emerging infectious agents and agents of biosecurity concern in ASEAN
Advances in medical sciences and public health have led to general well-being and longevity of the world population. It was previously expected that the threat from infectious diseaseswould be finally eliminated. Unfortunately, we now know that this is not going to be true.
Changing population demographic profiles and human environment leads to evolving stages of interactions between human and microbes and consequently emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. This is complicated by the possibility of using the biological materials for destruction of life, disruption of food production or scaring the public.
South East Asia, including Southern China, is a hot spot of emerging infectious diseases. Multiple factors are implicated including high population densities, intensive animal farming, abundant but rapidly changing ecosystems, lifestyles that promote close contacts between human and wildlife, etc. The risks are exemplified by several major outbreaks in the last decade such as SARS and avian influenza, which, led to devastating economic impacts.
ASEAN is on the verge of becoming a single economic community starting from 2015. In order to fulfill that goal, an extensive road network has been proposed and built. Most have already been finished. Although not all of them have the same quality, they will definitely allow the transportation of people and goods, in the amount that ASEAN has never witnessed before. It is hoped that this will lead to sharing of prosperity, well-being and the sense of common values. As any good things, the road network can also have an unintentional effect. It can become a conduit of infectious patients or agents.
People infected with a respiratory pathogen in Vietnam can travel by road and still arrive at a port in Myanmar before being sick. Contaminated food can be transported around quickly and consumed almost simultaneously in several destinations. The soil in the region is a natural habitat of Burkholderia pseudomallei, which can cause septicemia, a deadly disease.
It can be easily spread around by cars and trucks. Burkholderia pseudomallei and several respiratory pathogens are of biosecurity concerns. Intentional food contamination can severely affect consumer confidence and lead to consequent disruption of food distribution and agricultural production with enormous economic impacts in the regions and globally, as ASEAN is one of the world major food producing areas. Therefore, clear that to benefit as a single economic community, the capacity to control dangerous infectious diseases that can
transmit across the border, with the help of the road, is of utmost importance to prevent the rapid widespread of emerging infectious diseases and bio-terrorisms.
Project Area ( MBDS 4Cross Border Sites )
The project will choose and prioritize the cross border sites in Southeast Asia based on density of the traffic, the infrastructure on cross border site (capability on diagnostic) and the history data on the events (outbreak) of the organism of interest.
I. The borders along the East-West Corridor (point E-D-C) between Thailand –Laos–Vietnam (Mukdahan–Savannakhet–Quang Tri). This trans-peninsular corridor will finally connect ports on both sides and has the potential to become a major route of transportation between countries in Indian and Pacific Oceans. Heavy road traffics are expected. The city of Savannakhet and Mukdahan resides close to both sides of Laos-Thailand border.
I. Thailand –Laos–Vietnam (Mukdahan–Savannakhet–Quang Tri
II. Laos–Thailand (Champasack–Ubonratchathani) point B-A. This is a smaller pass between two countries, therefore, is subjected to less vigorous disease surveillance and control. However, it will continue to play an important transportation role. The site will be studied in comparison with the site I.
II. Laos–Thailand (Champasack–Ubonratchathani)
III. China–Laos (Mengla–Luang Namtha) point F-G. This is a part of the North South Corridor with the border areas still much less developed than the East West Corridor.
III. China–Laos (Mengla–Luang Namtha)
IV. Thailand–Cambodia (Sakaeo–Banteay Meanchey) point H-I. This is a part of the trans-peninsular Southern Corridor that connects several big cities in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. There is a potential of heavy traffic in the near future. The border areas are fairly well-developed.
IV. Thailand–Cambodia (Sakaeo–Banteay Meanchey)
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