Understanding and Responding to Global Health Security Risks from Microbial Threats in the Arctic: A Workshop

Type: Stand Alone Workshop
Topics: Environmental Health, Global Health, Health Security
Boards: Board on Global Health, Division on Earth and Life Studies

Activity Description

This workshop will bring together an international, interdisciplinary group of experts to explore what is known, and what critical knowledge gaps remain, regarding existing and possible future risks of harmful infectious agents emerging from thawing Arctic environments. Discussions will encompass topics such as:

• known risks such as anthrax, and other unknown human and animal microbial health risks that could conceivably be harbored in ice and permafrost;
• key research needs and critical tools for improving observations and surveillance, to advance our understanding of these risks, and to develop effective early warning systems;
• relevant lessons learned from efforts to address emerging/re-emerging microbial threats elsewhere in the world; and
• opportunities to facilitate interagency and international cooperation on such efforts, and to build upon existing programs and platforms for cooperation.

The workshop may also consider broader "One Health" perspectives on the changing Arctic environment and infectious disease dynamics and questions about whether research on particular pathogens raises new biosafety/biosecurity concerns. We hope to convene active researchers from numerous disciplines, public health officials, and representatives from key Arctic-region indigenous communities (such as reindeer herders).

This workshop will be planned and facilitated by a small appointed committee with expertise in areas such as: arctic climate change and terrestrial ecology (soil, plants, animals); permafrost monitoring and modeling; emerging and reemerging microbial threats; human and zoonotic infectious disease dynamics; and public health surveillance and response systems. This event will be open to the public, but space will be limited.

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