Middle East Consortium for Infectious Disease Survelliance (MECIDS)
The Middle East Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance (MECIDS) brings together public health experts and Ministry of Health officials from Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority to improve their ability to detect and respond to infectious disease threats through their epidemiological surveillance systems, capacity building and joint epidemiological and laboratory training.
Over the years, MECIDS has built an infrastructure to help Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority cooperate in detecting and managing disease outbreaks. MECIDS is a self-governing body run by its members. MECIDS advisors have included the World Health Organization and other American and European organizations. MECIDS has created a tight network among senior officials in the region, including the heads of the public health services and centers for disease control of Jordan and Israel. Along with other supporters, in particular the Nuclear Threat Initiative, ICLS has been involved with MECIDS in a number of ways over the past 10 years including providing technical and fund-raising support.
From the start, MECIDS members identified food-borne and water-borne disease as a priority concern and have established a disease surveillance system comprised of a network of laboratories for identifying food and water-borne disease outbreaks. MECIDS members have established protocols for specimen collection and diagnosis of diarrheal illnesses to assess food-borne disease in the region and to create a mechanism for identifying potential infectious disease outbreaks due to common food products. Members are sending their data routinely to one another, opening the lines of communication between the Ministries of Health in each country, and have been instrumental in detecting two significant outbreaks, salmonella and mumps, providing evidence that the system is functioning properly. Joint training in diagnostics and safe and secure operation of containment laboratories are an important featue of this collaboration.
While laboratory and epidemiologic capacities were initially focused on food- and water-borne diseases, efforts have now expanded to other biological threats such as avian and human influenza. MECIDS has developed standing protocols for the sharing of data and consultation on influenza outbreaks. The Consortium also has plans to counter the increasing occurrence of leishmaniasis in the populations of all three partners.
A Middle East subregional laboratory-based surveillance network on foodborne diseases established by Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, Epidemology & Infection, 2010