News Headlines Article

Global Health Forecast For 2016: Which Diseases Will Rise … Or Fall?
National Public Radio

No one predicted the Ebola epidemic before it burst forth in 2014 and continued to claim lives throughout 2015. And so, as 2016 begins, readers might well wonder what biological culprits — parasites, bacteria and viruses — are lurking out there, ready to unleash another outbreak of something terrible on an unsuspecting world.

We put the question to four infectious disease experts: What are your best educated guesses about the big global health stories in 2016?

Before making any predictions, Dr. Dyann Wirth, chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health, wanted to take an optimistic look back. Three researchers shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work in discovering treatments for malaria, river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis. “We’re at a very interesting time in global health,” says Wirth. “That these diseases were recognized by the Nobel Committee raised awareness in the public eye.”