Risk and Response to Biological Catastrophe in Lower Income Countries

  • Stephen LubyEmail author
  • Ronan Arthur
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 424)


Natural and intentional biological risks threaten human civilization, both through direct human fatality as well as follow-on effects from a collapse of the just-in-time delivery system that provides food, energy and critical supplies to communities globally. Human beings have multiple innate cognitive biases that systematically impair careful consideration of these risks. Residents of low-income countries, especially those who live in rural areas and are less dependent upon global trade, may be the most resilient communities to catastrophic risks, but low-income countries also present a heightened risk for biological catastrophe. Hotspots for the emergence of new zoonotic diseases are predominantly located in low-income countries. Crowded, poorly supplied healthcare facilities in low-income countries provide an optimal environment for new pathogens to transmit to a next host and adapt for more efficient person-to-person transmission. Strategies to address these risks include overcoming our natural biases and recognizing the importance of these risks, avoiding an over-reliance on developing specific biological countermeasures, developing generalized social and behavioral responses and investing in resilience.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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