Impact of a Hypothetical Infectious Disease Outbreak on US Exports and Export-Based Jobs

Bambery, Z.; Cassell, C.H.; Bunnell, R.E.; Roy, K.; Ahmed, Z.; Payne, R.L.; Meltzer, M.I.

Health Security 16(1): 1-7


ISSN/ISBN: 2326-5108
PMID: 29405775
DOI: 10.1089/hs.2017.0052
Accession: 065220858

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We estimated the impact on the US export economy of an illustrative infectious disease outbreak scenario in Southeast Asia that has 3 stages starting in 1 country and, if uncontained, spreads to 9 countries. We used 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola epidemic-related World Bank estimates of 3.3% and 16.1% reductions in gross domestic product (GDP). We also used US Department of Commerce job data to calculate export-related jobs at risk to any outbreak-related disruption in US exports. Assuming a direct correlation between GDP reductions and reduced demand for US exports, we estimated that the illustrative outbreak would cost from $16 million to $27 million (1 country) to $10 million to $18 billion (9 countries) and place 1,500 to almost 1.4 million export-related US jobs at risk. Our analysis illustrates how global health security is enhanced, and the US economy is protected, when public health threats are rapidly detected and contained at their source.