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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology
Volume 17, Issue 4, Pages 217-220
Special Article

Infectious Disease Management: Lessons from Cuba

Noni E Macdonald,1 Beth Halperin,1 Enrique Beldarrain Chaple,2 Jeff Scott,3 and John M Kirk4

1Dalhousie University, Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
2National Center for Medical Sciences Information, Havana, Cuba
3Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, Canada
4Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Received 8 March 2006; Accepted 8 June 2006

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over the past decade in Canada, infectious disease outbreaks have repeatedly been in the public spotlight. The Escherichia coli outbreak in Walkerton, Ontario (1), the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in Toronto, Ontario (2) and the Clostridium difficile hospital outbreak in Montreal, Quebec (3), have cost lives, grabbed headlines and stressed local health care systems. Each outbreak raised questions about our ability to prevent outbreaks, detect outbreaks early, and respond efficiently and effectively to infectious disease crises; these outbreaks also highlighted gaps in Canada's preparedness for managing major infectious disease problems when multiple jurisdictions are involved (4). Canada's poor track record of tuberculosis control in the north (5) raises the concern that this problem is not limited to crisis situations, but rather has deeper implications for the management of infectious diseases in Canada.