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Global Outbreaks and Responses

Series to Mark the 20th Anniversary of Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network

Guest edited by Professor Dale Fisher, Dr. Gail Carson, and Dr. Lina Moses.

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The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) was established in 2000 in Geneva when WHO convened 67 key partner institutions in global epidemic surveillance and response to discuss the challenge of epidemic prone and emerging diseases faced by the world at the onset of the 21st century.

During outbreaks, the GOARN ensures that the right technical expertise and are skills are on the ground where and when they are needed most. The network pools human and technical resources for rapid identification, confirmation and response to outbreaks of international importance.

Since its establishment, the Network has deployed over 2900 public health experts including epidemiologists, doctors, nurses, logisticians, operations managers, risk communicators, social mobilisers, data analysts, entomologists among others to over 90 countries to support more than 130 outbreaks of infectious disease.

To commemorate the GOARN anniversary, we are seeking submissions of original research and front matter articles on all aspects of outbreak preparedness, response, and recovery, covering a wide range of infectious diseases including Ebola, Yellow Fever, Dengue, H1N1, Cholera, and the most recent Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

These could include, but are not limited to, research focusing on capacity building, readiness, training/simulations exercises, modes of transmission, viability studies, operational research on deployments and field operations, and survivor follow up. Other influential topics could include ethics, barriers to research, funders’ initiatives, and community engagement.

We would welcome direct submission of original research that meets the above criteria – please submit directly to BMC Medicine stating in your cover letter that you are targeting the collection. Alternatively, you can email your pre-submission queries to After launch, the collection will remain open and accept submissions for one year (until December 2021).

Guest Editors provided guidance on the scope of this collection and advised on commissioned content. However, they are not involved in editorial decision-making on papers submitted to this collection. All final editorial decisions are with the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Lin Lee.​

  1. East Africa is home to 170 million people and prone to frequent outbreaks of viral haemorrhagic fevers and various bacterial diseases. A major challenge is that epidemics mostly happen in remote areas, where i...

    Authors: Muna Affara, Hakim Idris Lagu, Emmanuel Achol, Richard Karamagi, Neema Omari, Grace Ochido, Eric Kezakarayagwa, Francine Kabatesi, Anatole Nkeshimana, Abdi Roba, Millicent Nyakio Ndia, Mamo U. Abudo, Alice Kabanda, Etienne Mpabuka, Emil Ivan Mwikarago, Philip Ezekiel Kutjok…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2021 19:160
  2. For 20 years, the Global Outbreak Response and Alert Network (GOARN) has been a leader in the coordination of international outbreak response. On the premise that no single institution can provide all capaciti...

    Authors: Renee Christensen, Dale Fisher, Sharon Salmon, Patrick Drury and Paul Effler
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2021 19:123
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed sustained demand on health systems globally, and the capacity to provide critical care has been overwhelmed in some jurisdictions. It is unknown which triage criteria for alloc...

    Authors: Kirsten M. Fiest, Karla D. Krewulak, Kara M. Plotnikoff, Laryssa G. Kemp, Ken Kuljit S. Parhar, Daniel J. Niven, John B. Kortbeek, Henry T. Stelfox and Jeanna Parsons Leigh
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:404
  4. Cholera epidemics continue to challenge disease control, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected states. Rapid detection and response to small cholera clusters is key for efficient control before an epid...

    Authors: Ruwan Ratnayake, Flavio Finger, W. John Edmunds and Francesco Checchi
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:397
  5. Epidemics of infectious disease occur frequently in low-income and humanitarian settings and pose a serious threat to populations. However, relatively little is known about responses to these epidemics. Robust...

    Authors: Abdihamid Warsame, Jillian Murray, Amy Gimma and Francesco Checchi
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:315
  6. Asymptomatic or subclinical SARS-CoV-2 infections are often unreported, which means that confirmed case counts may not accurately reflect underlying epidemic dynamics. Understanding the level of ascertainment ...

    Authors: Timothy W. Russell, Nick Golding, Joel Hellewell, Sam Abbott, Lawrence Wright, Carl A. B. Pearson, Kevin van Zandvoort, Christopher I. Jarvis, Hamish Gibbs, Yang Liu, Rosalind M. Eggo, W. John Edmunds and Adam J. Kucharski
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:332
  7. The health impact of COVID-19 may differ in African settings as compared to countries in Europe or China due to demographic, epidemiological, environmental and socio-economic factors. We evaluated strategies t...

    Authors: Kevin van Zandvoort, Christopher I. Jarvis, Carl A. B. Pearson, Nicholas G. Davies, Ruwan Ratnayake, Timothy W. Russell, Adam J. Kucharski, Mark Jit, Stefan Flasche, Rosalind M. Eggo and Francesco Checchi
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:324
  8. Authors: Alice Norton, Louise Sigfrid, Adeniyi Aderoba, Naima Nasir, Peter G. Bannister, Shelui Collinson, James Lee, Geneviève Boily-Larouche, Josephine P. Golding, Evelyn Depoortere, Gail Carson, Barbara Kerstiëns and Yazdan Yazdanpanah
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:273
  9. The spatial spread of many mosquito-borne diseases occurs by focal spread at the scale of a few hundred meters and over longer distances due to human mobility. The relative contributions of different spatial s...

    Authors: Giorgio Guzzetta, Francesco Vairo, Alessia Mammone, Simone Lanini, Piero Poletti, Mattia Manica, Roberto Rosa, Beniamino Caputo, Angelo Solimini, Alessandra Della Torre, Paola Scognamiglio, Alimuddin Zumla, Giuseppe Ippolito and Stefano Merler
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:226
  10. More than half of the global population is under strict forms of social distancing. Estimating the expected impact of lockdown and exit strategies is critical to inform decision makers on the management of the...

    Authors: Laura Di Domenico, Giulia Pullano, Chiara E. Sabbatini, Pierre-Yves Boëlle and Vittoria Colizza
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:240
  11. School closures have been enacted as a measure of mitigation during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It has been shown that school closures could cause absenteeism among healthcare wor...

    Authors: Elizabeth T. Chin, Benjamin Q. Huynh, Nathan C. Lo, Trevor Hastie and Sanjay Basu
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:218
  12. Since the first cluster of cases was identified in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rapidly spreads globally. Scientists have made strides in estimating key transmission...

    Authors: Kenji Mizumoto, Katsushi Kagaya and Gerardo Chowell
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:217
  13. Current outbreaks of COVID-19 are threatening the health care systems of several countries around the world. Control measures, based on isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine, can decrease and delay the bu...

    Authors: Andrea Torneri, Pieter Libin, Joris Vanderlocht, Anne-Mieke Vandamme, Johan Neyts and Niel Hens
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:191
  14. Major infectious disease outbreaks are a constant threat to human health. Clinical research responses to outbreaks generate evidence to improve outcomes and outbreak control. Experiences from previous epidemic...

    Authors: Louise Sigfrid, Katherine Maskell, Peter G. Bannister, Sharif A. Ismail, Shelui Collinson, Sadie Regmi, Claire Blackmore, Eli Harriss, Kajsa-Stina Longuere, Nina Gobat, Peter Horby, Mike Clarke and Gail Carson
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:190
  15. On January 30, COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern—a week after Singapore’s first imported case and 5 days before local transmission. The National University Hospital (NUH)...

    Authors: Sophia Archuleta, Gail Cross, Jyoti Somani, Lionel Lum, Amelia Santosa, Rawan A. Alagha, David M. Allen, Alicia Ang, Darius Beh, Louis Chai, Si Min Chan, See Ming Lim, Dariusz P. Olszyna, Catherine Ong, Jolene Oon, Brenda M. A. Salada…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:179
  16. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has infected more than 4 million people within 4 months. There is an urgent need to properly identify high-risk cases that are more likely to deteriorate even if they presen...

    Authors: Jichan Shi, Yang Li, Xian Zhou, Qiran Zhang, Xinchun Ye, Zhengxing Wu, Xiangao Jiang, Hongying Yu, Lingyun Shao, Jing-Wen Ai, Haocheng Zhang, Bin Xu, Feng Sun and Wenhong Zhang
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:168
  17. As of March 31, 2020, the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic that started in China in December 2019 is now generating local transmission around the world. The geographic heterogeneity and associated intervention strate...

    Authors: Amna Tariq, Yiseul Lee, Kimberlyn Roosa, Seth Blumberg, Ping Yan, Stefan Ma and Gerardo Chowell
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:166

    The Commentary to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2020 18:164

  18. Understanding of the role of ethnicity and socioeconomic position in the risk of developing SARS-CoV-2 infection is limited. We investigated this in the UK Biobank study.

    Authors: Claire L. Niedzwiedz, Catherine A. O’Donnell, Bhautesh Dinesh Jani, Evangelia Demou, Frederick K. Ho, Carlos Celis-Morales, Barbara I. Nicholl, Frances S. Mair, Paul Welsh, Naveed Sattar, Jill P. Pell and S. Vittal Katikireddi
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:160

    The Commentary to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2020 18:206

  19. To mitigate and slow the spread of COVID-19, many countries have adopted unprecedented physical distancing policies, including the UK. We evaluate whether these measures might be sufficient to control the epid...

    Authors: Christopher I. Jarvis, Kevin Van Zandvoort, Amy Gimma, Kiesha Prem, Petra Klepac, G. James Rubin and W. John Edmunds
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:124
  20. Compared to adults, there are relatively few studies on COVID-19 infection in children, and even less focusing on the unique features of COVID-19 in children in terms of laboratory findings, locations of compu...

    Authors: Huijing Ma, Jiani Hu, Jie Tian, Xi Zhou, Hui Li, Maxwell Thomas Laws, Luke David Wesemann, Baiqi Zhu, Wei Chen, Rafael Ramos, Jun Xia and Jianbo Shao
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:123

    The Commentary to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2020 18:171

    The Commentary to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2020 18:158

  21. The 2018–2019 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the largest ever recorded in the DRC. It has been declared a Public Health Em...

    Authors: Moritz U. G. Kraemer, David M. Pigott, Sarah C. Hill, Samantha Vanderslott, Robert C. Reiner Jr, Stephanie Stasse, John S. Brownstein, Bernardo Gutierrez, Francis Dennig, Simon I. Hay, G. R. William Wint, Oliver G. Pybus, Marcia C. Castro, Patrick Vinck, Phuong N. Pham, Eric J. Nilles…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:113