The Role of Genomics in Outbreak Surveillance

Several challenges need to be tackled for genomics-informed pathogen surveillance and outbreak response to become a global reality.

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The recent Ebola and Zika epidemics demonstrate the need for the continuous surveillance, rapid diagnosis and real-time tracking of emerging infectious diseases. As discussed in a Nature Reviews Genetics article, “Towards a Genomics-Informed, Real-time, Global Pathogen Surveillance System, “fast, affordable sequencing of pathogen genomes — now a staple of the public health microbiology laboratory in well-resourced settings — can affect each of these disease-response areas. Coupling genomic diagnostics and epidemiology to innovative digital disease detection platforms raises the possibility of an open, global, digital pathogen-surveillance system. When informed by a ‘One Health’ approach, in which human, animal and environmental health are considered together, such a genomics-based system has profound potential to improve public health in settings lacking robust laboratory capacity.

By Nature Reviews Genetics


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