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Special Pathogen Response Network (SPRN)


Following the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and the resulting 11 cases treated in the United States the State of Michigan established the Special Pathogens Response Network (SPRN) to prepare for and respond to highly infectious diseases that produce severe disease in humans. MDHHS realized that preparedness efforts for Ebola also provide an opportunity to prepare for outbreaks of other special pathogens. 

The 2014 Ebola epidemic was the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. As of March 2016, MDHHS and Local Health Department partners successfully monitored 414 travelers with a recent travel history to West African countries in which there was an ongoing Ebola outbreak. None of the travelers exhibited any signs of Ebola infection during their 21-day monitoring period. MDHHS continued monitoring the referred travelers until all national monitoring ended in December 2015. 

This video provides a brief introduction to the SPRN program and describes special pathogens: 

Emerging Diseases

  • For information on Influenza A (H5N1), check out the Michigan Department of Community Health's (MDHHS) Influenza A (H5N1) page.
  • For information on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), check out the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's (MDARD) HPAI Information page.


Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs)

Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are a group of diseases that are caused by several distinct families of viruses. The term “viral hemorrhagic fever” refers to a condition that affects many organ systems of the body, damages the overall cardiovascular system, and reduces the body’s ability to function on its own. Symptoms of this type of condition can vary but often include bleeding, or hemorrhaging. Some VHFs cause relatively mild illness, while others can cause severe, life-threatening disease. Most VHFs have no known cure or vaccine. Diseases in this category include Ebola Disease, Marburg Virus Disease and many others.


From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC Information on VHFs

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC Ebola Virus Information

From the World Health

WHO VHF Information

Traveler Health Monitoring and Travel History

Traveler health monitoring is monitoring the health of travelers following travel to locations around the world that are currently experiencing a disease outbreak. The type and length of monitoring depend on the disease and risk of exposure. Travel history should be gathered by healthcare providers to ensure risks, including endemic disease risks, are accounted for when patient arrives with an unknown infectious disease.


From the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Traveler Evaluation and Monitoring (TEAM) Protocol

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC’s Travel Health Notices

Special Pathogen General Information

Below is a compilation of special pathogen, including Ebola, guidance resources for the community and clinicians. Anyone who may be showing symptoms of Ebola or similar illness should receive medical evaluation and subsequent follow up with public health.  

Information specific to Ebola can be found at the CDC's Ebola Website. Of particular interest is the document related to the twelve domains of hospital preparedness entitled "Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in U.S. Hospitals."

More references and science based support is found on the HHS ASPR TRACIE website.


From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Clinical Guidance for High-Consequence Pathogens

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Infection Prevention and Control of VHF

Special Pathogen Information for EMS Providers:

The MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories website contains information to assist in proper collection and submission of specimens. The site lists off-hours contact information, a lab services guide, and a biosafety laboratory preparedness section which includes malaria testing and clinical lab risk assessment template.