The Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (also known as ProMED-mail) is among the largest of publicly available emerging disease and outbreak reporting systems in the world.

As the SARS epidemic dramatically demonstrated, the emergence and spread of infectious diseases in this era of intense globalization must be recognized quickly anywhere in the world in order to respond appropriately. Originally founded in 1994, and a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases since 1999, ProMED-mail has more than 40,000 participants in over 165 countries and has pioneered the concept of electronic, Internet-based, emerging disease and outbreak detection and reporting.

Reporting diseases

ProMED-mail publishes and transmits via the Internet an average of seven daily reports of infectious disease outbreaks with commentary from a staff of expert moderators, on a real-time basis. It is estimated that 70% of emerging human diseases originate in other animal species. Because of the importance of animal diseases to human health ProMED-mail, ProMED-mail also reports on emerging animal diseases. Diseases of agriculturally important plants are also included because of their impact on human survival.

ProMED-mail's independence ensures the avoidance of delay or suppression of disease reporting by governments for bureaucratic or strategic reasons. Versions of ProMED-mail are available in several languages as ProMED-ESP (Spanish), ProMED-PORT (Portuguese), ProMED-RUS (Russian), and ProMED-FR (French), as well as an English version focused on the Mekong Basin region of Southeast Asia. ProMED-mail can be accessed on the web at with no cost for subscription. Networks such as ProMED-mail are a crucial component of the overall global infectious disease surveillance picture.


  • Cowen P, Garland T, Hugh-Jones ME, Shimshony A, Handysides S, Kaye D, Madoff LC, Pollack MP & Woodall J. "Evaluation of ProMED-mail as an electronic early warning system for emerging animal diseases: 1996 to 2004." J Am Vet Assoc. 2006. Oct 1;229(7):1090-9.
  • Madoff LC.; "ProMED-mail: An Early Warning System for Emerging Diseases." Clin Infect Dis. 2004; 39: 227-32.
  • Madoff LC & Woodall JP.; "The Internet and the Global Monitoring of Emerging Diseases: Lessons from the First 10 Years of ProMED-mail." Arch Med Res 2005; 36(6): 724-730.
  • [Madoff L. "Cooperation between animal and human health sectors is key to the detection, surveillance, and control of emerging disease: IMED 2007 meeting in Vienna, February 2007." Euro Surveil 2006;11(12):E061221.4.]
  • Miller, J., Website for the germ-obsessed: To its devotees, ProMED, which tracks disease outbreaks worldwide, is a must-read. January 13, 2007.
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