Monash Bioethics Review 33 (2-3):130-147 (2015)

Maxwell Smith
University of Western Ontario
The unprecedented outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa has raised several novel ethical issues for global outbreak preparedness. It has also illustrated that familiar ethical issues in infectious disease management endure despite considerable efforts to understand and mitigate such issues in the wake of past outbreaks. To improve future global outbreak preparedness and response, we must examine these shortcomings and reflect upon the current state of ethical preparedness. To this end, we focus our efforts in this article on the examination of one substantial area: ethical guidance in pandemic plans. We argue that, due in part to their focus on considerations arising specifically in relation to pandemics of influenza origin, pandemic plans and their existing ethical guidance are ill-equipped to anticipate and facilitate the navigation of unique ethical challenges that may arise in other infectious disease pandemics. We proceed by outlining three reasons why this is so, and situate our analysis in the context of the EVD outbreak and the threat posed by drug-resistant tuberculosis: different infectious diseases have distinct characteristics that challenge anticipated or existing modes of pandemic prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery, clear, transparent, context-specific ethical reasoning and justification within current influenza pandemic plans are lacking, and current plans neglect the context of how other significant pandemics may manifest. We conclude the article with several options for reflecting upon and ultimately addressing ethical issues that may emerge with different infectious disease pandemics.
Keywords Ebola   Ethics   Pandemic planning   Pandemic preparedness   Public health emergency preparedness and response   All-hazards planning   Tuberculosis
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DOI 10.1007/s40592-015-0038-7
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References found in this work BETA

Selecting the Right Tool For the Job.Arthur L. Caplan, Carolyn Plunkett & Bruce Levin - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics 15 (4):4-10.
Ethics and Infectious Disease.Michael J. Selgelid - 2005 - Bioethics 19 (3):272–289.
Ethics, Tuberculosis and Globalization.Michael J. Selgelid - 2008 - Public Health Ethics 1 (1):10-20.

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