This essay confronts the collision of two potential global threats: the outbreak of infectious pandemics and the outbreak and protraction of civil wars. Specifically, it addresses the potential that civil wars can elevate the risk that an infectious outbreak will emerge; the possibility that civil wars can reduce the capacity to identify and respond to outbreaks; and the risk that outbreaks in areas of civil conflict can generate political and security challenges that may threaten regional and international order. Both global health governance and international security structures seem inadequate to address the health and security challenges posed by infectious outbreaks in areas of civil conflict. New approaches that better integrate the technical and political challenges inherent in preventing pandemics in areas of civil war are urgently required.
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