Improving global prehospital and emergency medicine, public health, and disaster health care and preparedness

Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases and disasters are inextricably linked. The Haiti 2010 earthquake international response was marred by cholera imported by UN peacekeepers. The Ebola 2014 response was WHO’s largest response to an infectious agent. The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc internationally and military crises such as the Ukraine conflict exacerbate underlying infectious disease issues within the population. The 2023 Marburg outbreak in Tanzania highlights the principle of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and the need for ongoing disease surveillance, along with an awareness that climate change influences disease epidemiology.

The mission of WADEM Infectious Diseases SIG (ID-SIG) seeks to create an educational platform and a vehicle to facilitate education and collaboration internationally between the Infectious Diseases and Disaster Medicine communities. The ID-SIG seeks to improve understanding and mitigation of disasters that are either infectious diseases in origin or a complication of other disasters.

Infectious Diseases SIG Leadership

Vijai Bhola, MD
Infectious Diseases, Critical Care, Disaster Medicine

Montefiore / Einstein School of Medicine
Email Link
Rajeev Fernando, MD
Infectious Diseases, Disaster Medicine

Mount Sinai Health System

Chief Medical Officer, Healcorp - Ukraine and Turkey Operations

Executive Director of Field Operations, Society of Disaster Medicine and Public Health
Email Link

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Check out the Infectious Diseases SIG Resources

WADEM · Dengue Fever Update – 27 April 2024

Dr. Vijai Bhola provides an overview of the increased number of cases of dengue fever globally. Also discussed are the clinical features of dengue, the role of climate change, vector control and bite avoidance, and the dengue vaccination (Qdenga). Dr. Bhola is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University and the WADEM Infectious Diseases Special Interest Group Co-Chair.

Image Credit: NIAID (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Recorded – 27 April 2024

Dr. Vijai Bhola, WADEM Infectious Disease SIG Co-Chair, provides a historical overview of polio, the different polio vaccines that are available, and the causes of the recent resurgence of polio cases worldwide.

WADEM · Disasters and New Technologies – Dr. Vijai Bhola

In the last podcast of this five-part series, Dr. Vijai Bhola discusses new technologies that can be deployed in an austere environment, including portable MRIs, electronic medical records, and in particular, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). Here is a link to the article mentioned in the podcast –

WADEM · Disaster Medicine and Infectious Diseases – Dr. Vijai Bhola

In this podcast, Dr. Bhola discusses how to be prepared for infectious diseases when responding to a disaster, as well as if the infectious disease is the disaster itself.

WADEM · Infectious Diseases & Climate Change – Dr. Vijai Bhola

Dr. Vijai Bhola discusses the relationship between climate change and infectious diseases including vectors, food insecurity, decreased nutrition, and displaced populations. This podcast is the third in a series of five with Dr. Bhola.

WADEM · COVID-19 – A Look Back – Dr. Vijai Bhola

Dr. Vijai Bhola rovides some insights and reflections including masking, vaccines, distrust of science/medicine, etc. from the COVID-19 pandemic. This podcast is the second in a series of five with Dr. Bhola.

WADEM · The Next Pandemic? – Dr. Vijai Bhola

Dr. Vijai Bhola provides some insight into pandemics (past, present, and future), COVID, and emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Bhola is currently a Fellow in Critical Care Medicine at Einstein/Montefiore Medical School. This podcast is the first in a series of five with Dr. Bhola.

WADEM · Health Impacts of the Ukraine War – Dr. Rajeev Fernando

In the podcast, Dr. Rajeev Fernando gives an update on the health impacts of the war on the civilian population in Ukraine after 60 weeks of conflict. Dr. Fernando has regularly been working in Ukraine over the past year with the NGO, Healcorp.

WADEM · Antimicrobial Resistance – Dr. Rajeev Fernando

Dr. Rajeev Fernando drops in for the fifth edition of the Infectious Disease Special Interest Group (SIG) podcast series. For this podcast, Dr. Fernando explores the threat that antimicrobial resistance presents for global health touching on a wide range of topics including agricultural production, bioterrorism, and the promise of artificial intelligence.

WADEM · Possible Tridemic? – Dr. Rajeev Fernando

Dr. Rajeev Fernando drops by the infectious diseases podcast series to discuss current trends around the world including increasing RSV cases, the ongoing state of COVID-19, and the upcoming influenza season in the Northern Hemisphere. Also highlighted are the recent weather events in Pakistan and Florida and the successes against the spread of monkeypox.

WADEM · Famine in the Horn of Africa

WADEM Infectious Disease SIG Co-chair, Dr. Rajeev Fernando, discusses the slow-moving disaster of famine in the Horn of Africa. Recently back from providing care in Ethiopia, Dr. Fernando provides some perspective on the multiple factors contributing to the ongoing food insecurity issues there, as well as the famine’s impact on communicable and non-communicable diseases in the region.

WADEM · COVID Cases Rising – BA.5 Variant – Dr. Rajeev Fernando

Dr. Rajeev Fernando drops by the podcast series for a new infectious diseases update this time focusing on the increasing cases of COVID-19 around the world due to the BA.5 subvariant.

WADEM · Monkeypox – Time to be Concerned? – Dr. Rajeev Fernando

In this podcast, infectious disease specialist, Dr. Rajeev Fernando shares his insights about the monkeypox virus and why there are new cases globally, if the public should be alarmed, are there any stigmas associated with monkeypox, and if there will be new variants like SARS-CoV-2.