Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Surveillance and Future of Epidemiology

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Surveillance and Future of Epidemiology

Article excerpt

SYMPOSIUM HELD IN PRAGUE NOVEMBER 11, 2009, AS A TRIBUTE TO PROFESSOR KAREL RASKA, THE OUTSTANDING EPIDEMIOLOGIST

On the 1 1th November, 2009 a symposium to celebrate 100th anniversary of birth of the outstanding Czech epidemiologist prof. Karel Raska (born on the 17th November 1909) was held. After graduation at the Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague and short army career he was appointed head of microbiological department of the National Health Institute in 1938. In 1952 he became a director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Prague. From the beginning of his career he was devoted to the fight against prevailing communicable diseases. Noteworthy was his share on containment of louse/ borne typhus outbreak in the concentration camp Terezin at the end of the second world war. In subsequent years he was at the front in formulating the concept of public health services in then Czechoslovakia and in his capacity of the leading national epidemiologist contributed to significant reduction of incidence of prevailing infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, diphteria, pertusis, measles, hepatitis. His ability to promote, organize and mobilize interdisciplinary cooperation was crowned by successful elimination of brucellosis and bovine TB. From the national and global point of view his work and contribution to the theory and methodology of active surveillance of communicable diseases and staunch advocacy of smallpox eradication program were appreciated up most. Raska 's activities at the national and international level (founding member of the International Epidemiological Association) reached a peak by his appointment as director of Communicable Disease Division at the World Health Organization (WHO) HQs in Geneva in 1963. He persuaded the Director General of the need to create separate smallpox eradication unit and was instrumental in outlining a new strategy for intensified phase of global smallpox eradication program based on the concept of active surveillance and abandonment of mass vaccination campaign. …

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