It is a pleasure to announce the fourth International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance, IMED 2013 to be held in Vienna, Austria from 15–18 February 2013. Now established as a fixture for those whose work deals with threats from infectious agents, IMED 2013 will once again bring leading scientists, clinicians and policy makers to Vienna to present new knowledge and breakthroughs and discuss how to discover, detect, understand, prevent and respond to outbreaks of emerging pathogens.
Since the last IMED, newly emerged diseases and outbreaks of familiar ones have continued to challenge us and keep us vigilant. While the influenza pandemic that began in 2009 has quieted, eruptions of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry, wild birds and humans continue to occur. A novel H3N2 has transmitted from pigs to humans and, at least occasionally, from person to person. A newly discovered orthobunyavirus, the Schmallenberg virus, has emerged in livestock in Northern Europe. A foodborne outbreak of highly virulent Shiga toxin producing E. coli caused devastating disease that spread across the European continent. Diseases at the human-wildlife interface ranging from rabies to plague to Nipah continue to draw our attention. Growing resistance by pathogens to all types of therapeutic agents raises fundamental obstacles to our ability to respond to outbreaks and pandemics. The threat of intentional use of biological agents for nefarious purposes remains as real as ever.
Since its inception, IMED has been a summit that unifies our approach to pathogens in the broadest ecological context. Drawing together human and veterinary health specialists, IMED serves as a true One Health forum where those working in diverse specialties and diverse regions can meet, discuss, present and challenge one another with findings and new ideas.
While pathogens emerge and mutate, our methodology for detection, surveillance, prevention, control, and treatment also continue to evolve. New approaches to the uses of social media and data mining, novel laboratory methods, rapid point-of-care diagnostics, public health, risk communication, political and societal responses to outbreaks have all seen innovation and change that will be explored at IMED 2013.
ProMED and the International Society for Infectious Diseases, along with all of our co-sponsors and participating organizations, look forward to welcoming you to Vienna.
Chair, Scientific Program Committee
ISID, Boston, USA