Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What can 14th century Venice teach us about Ebola, other emerging threats?

Date:
August 26, 2014
Source:
Springer
Summary:
The way in which the Italian city of Venice dealt with the outbreak of the plague in the 14th century holds lessons on how to even mitigate the consequences of today's emerging threats, like climate change, terrorism, and highly infectious or drug-resistant diseases, says one researcher.

The way in which the Italian city of Venice dealt with the outbreak of the plague in the fourteenth century holds lessons on how to even mitigate the consequences of today's emerging threats, like climate change, terrorism and highly infectious or drug-resistant diseases. So says Dr. Igor Linkov of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and a visiting professor of the Ca Foscari University in Italy. Linkov led an article on resilience management appearing in Springer's journal Environment Systems and Decisions.

Venice was the hub of many trade routes into central Europe, and in 1347 became the epicenter of a plague epidemic. While Venetians initially attempted to mitigate what they believed to be the threat -- God, vampires, etc. -- by enacting traditional risk management like prayer and rituals, they eventually began to utilize what we would now call resilience management.

Instead of trying to target a poorly understood risk, state authorities focused on managing physical movement, social interactions, and data collection for the city as a system. This included a system of inspection, lazaretto (quarantine stations) on nearby islands, quarantine periods, and wearing protective clothing. Although these actions were too late to stop the disease's initial devastation, thanks to the cumulative efforts over several hundred years, Venice continued to flourish, experiencing only sporadic episodes of plague thereafter, while in Greece and southern Europe, similar epidemics raged for centuries.

As the world grapples with the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, Linkov and his colleagues see opportunities to learn from the Venetians in resilience management. In the case of Ebola, economic and cultural factors make risk management difficult. While it will take time to transform deeply rooted traditions that contribute the spread of the Ebola virus, health experts and national leaders may be able to realize improvements by bolstering the ability of other parts of the system to respond to re-emergence of the disease. Resilience management addresses the ability of a complex system -- such as a city or community -- to prepare, absorb, recover, and adapt to unexpected threats.

"Resilience management can be a guide to dealing with the current Ebola outbreak in Africa, and others like it, as well as other issues like population growth and the impacts of global climate change," believes Linkov. "Similar to what the officials of Venice did centuries ago, approaching resilience at the system level provides a way to deal with the unknown and unquantifiable threats we are facing at an increasing frequency."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Igor Linkov, Cate Fox-Lent, Jeffrey Keisler, Stefano Della Sala, Jorg Sieweke. Risk and resilience lessons from Venice. Environment Systems and Decisions, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10669-014-9511-8

Cite This Page:

Springer. "What can 14th century Venice teach us about Ebola, other emerging threats?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826152816.htm>.
Springer. (2014, August 26). What can 14th century Venice teach us about Ebola, other emerging threats?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826152816.htm
Springer. "What can 14th century Venice teach us about Ebola, other emerging threats?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826152816.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins