14th century Venice plague holds' lessons' for fight against Ebola
A new study has shed light into how to fight against today's Ebola outbreak in South Africa by revising methods used by Venice city to deal with its plague outbreak in the 14th century.
Venice was the hub of many trade routes into central Europe, and in 1347 became the epicenter of a plague epidemic. They eventually began to utilize what could now be called as "resilience management".
State authorities focused on managing physical movement, social interactions, and data collection for the city as a system. This included a system of inspection, lazaretto (quarantine stations) on nearby islands, quarantine periods, and wearing protective clothing.
Dr. Igor Linkov of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center and his team saw the opportunity to learn from the Venetians in resilience management. In the case of Ebola, economic and cultural factors make risk management difficult.
While it would take time to transform deeply rooted traditions that contribute the spread of the Ebola virus, health experts and national leaders might be able to realize improvements by bolstering the ability of other parts of the system to respond to re-emergence of the disease.
Resilience management addresses the ability of a complex system, such as a city or community, to prepare, absorb, recover, and adapt to unexpected threats.
Linkov believed that resilience management could be a guide to dealing with the current Ebola outbreak in Africa, and others like it, as well as other issues like population growth and the impacts of global climate change.
The study is published in Springer's journal Environment Systems and Decisions.
(Posted on 27-08-2014)