Statement on the Future of ProMED

We recognize that members of the ProMED community are concerned about the continuation of the platform and want to reassure them that we hear their concerns. We know how many in our community start their day with ProMED and rely on its reports for their work. We also know that we could have communicated changes more clearly to the community and apologize for any confusion and distress caused.

We want to reassure users that ProMED services continue in a limited capacity, but there will likely be a temporary reduction in the number of posts on the website while we work with the signatories to yesterday’s letter.

Regarding delays in payments to Moderators, this is unfortunately not a unique situation because ProMED has always operated on a shoestring budget. This means that sometimes payments are delayed due to cash flow or funding issues. Over ProMED’s almost 30 years of existence, payment terms to Moderators have thus changed and evolved. We have addressed this more recently by stabilizing the predictability of payments. However, as we are currently in a funding pinch, we communicated in July to the ProMED team that some payments would be delayed, potentially up to two months. Despite this, some stipends have been paid in full but we still have more to cover. Some colleagues asked to be paid sooner because of personal circumstances, which we have accommodated.

When it comes to the long-term future of ProMED, the management team has been working consistently to address the lack of funding to keep ProMED running. Moving toward a predictable sustained revenue stream for the massive amount of work that takes place within ProMED is not something we should be afraid to talk about. It takes resources to provide early warning alerts to the world that so many industries, bodies, and governments depend on. I want to emphasize that the challenge is not ProMED’s alone. We know many peer organizations around the world are facing similar funding issues and have been working alongside other global bodies to address this gap. Underinvestment in public surveillance is a global issue.

For more than a year, we have been discussing ProMED’s financial plight with the many different entities and all key super-users of ProMED data. We have reiterated the need for sustained funding with such users to allow us to update the technology and deliver a modernized working environment for our ProMED Moderators, Correspondents, and Rapporteurs, as well as provide better curation of data for our many thousands of users around the world. However, no funding has materialized. The only viable path forward is to move to a subscription-based model, and in essence, decommission scrapers. This is not a move we wanted to make but in the absence of external funding, is required to keep ProMED operating.

To address other concerns that ProMED has not considered all investment avenues, I can confirm that to date, ISID has not received any proposals for funding partnerships, endowments, or revenue sharing. We are open to funding proposals from any interested party. Many have stated the need for ProMED and talked about the need for change, but no one has followed this up with concrete funding. Despite this, we have continued to provide the world with many key first alerts in the modern age, with subject matter expert data curation unparalleled by any other entity.

ISID has been covering the costs for ProMED since 1999, and piecing together small funding amounts is not feasible any longer. There is a perception that ProMED has sustained funding, but that has never been the case. With the need for staff, technology upgrades, and all the software as a service we pay for to keep emails flowing to our 20,000 subscribers, we need a new business model. We are working tirelessly on all fronts for unrestricted grants, and are exploring and open to strategic partnerships.

We know our community wants to do even more with ProMED. And we want to deliver for them. Our vision for an upgraded, mobile, and sophisticated platform that meets the needs of our subscribers requires unrestricted operational funding and investment. We ask organizations to get in touch if you can fund, want to partner, or have a collaborative proposal to share at .

Linda C. MacKinnon, MPH, PMP

Important Updates to ProMED

Dear ProMED Community,

As a user of ProMED, you are hopefully aware that ProMED has provided information on emerging and re-emerging diseases to the world, free of charge, for almost 30 years. There is an ongoing misperception that because ProMED has been around for so long and has such a successful track record, that it is well funded. Unfortunately, this is not the case. To put it frankly, ProMED is in dire financial straits.

ProMED is in need of unrestricted operational funding, and we have found that those opportunities are few and far between as various regional and global surveillance hub efforts come online. While the COVID-19 pandemic made the entire world aware of the importance of pandemic preparedness and epidemic surveillance, ProMED has been unable to capitalize on the unprecedented amounts of money that were infused into this space. This is because our traditional funders have moved to project-based funding under the premise that other government and international entities will cover sustainment costs.

When we launched a $1 million fundraising campaign in October of 2022, we raised $20,000. Although these donations were greatly appreciated, it further highlights the disconnect between sustainable funding and the varied perceptions of who should pay that bill. Further complicating the situation, several government and business entities use and disseminate ProMED data in violation of our terms of service and have thus far been unwilling or unable to help ensure our financial viability.

We have heard repeatedly that no one else does what ProMED does and that our data is critical for our many users, but that has not translated to the sustainable funding we so desperately need.

This has necessitated very difficult decisions to be made to continue providing ProMED’s vital services. We have started, and will continue over the coming months, to roll out significant changes at ProMED to secure its future.

  1. ProMED’s Twitter and RSS feeds were turned off on June 2, 2023. This change is permanent to stop unauthorized data scraping. 
  2. As of today, July 14th, the “Search Posts” feature on the ProMED website has changed to only allow users to search for posts from the previous month. 
  3. This fall we will launch a new home page for the ProMED website where all visitors will create a login to access any information on the website.
    1. The new home page will also include a paid subscription model where users will be able to subscribe to different tiers. Each tier will deliver access to different types and amounts of information and will determine how far back in the ProMED archives users can search for past posts. 
  4. We will enforce ProMED’s terms of service.  

If you would like to request ProMED data and pricing in light of these changes, please contact us at

We know this is likely difficult news and is not what anyone would prefer to happen. However, allowing ProMED to cease operations would be a far worse outcome for the many entities that depend on the critical alerts and historical data we provide. Looking ahead, we envision ProMED not only as  the pre-eminent platform for event-based surveillance but also the nexus for modeling, forecasting, and predictive analytics that will not only help to identify a potential pandemic event, but predict it before it even starts.

If you or your organization is interested in providing long-term funding or donating to ProMED, or if you have specific questions, please contact us at

Thank you for your understanding and for your support of ProMED. We look forward to serving you for another 30 years and beyond! 

Kind regards,

The ProMED team

Submit Your Paper to IJID One Health

Call for papers are open for ISID’s open-access, peer-reviewed journal, IJID One Health.

The International Journal of Infectious Diseases (IJID) One Health (OH), an open access, peer-reviewed journal published monthly online by the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID), promotes original research and perspectives related to One Health. IJID One Health will feature updates, commentaries, and scholarly work from key leaders, visionaries, and organizations using a One Health approach. The aim of IJID One Health is to advance scientific knowledge related to the connections between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

As a platform for the presentation and discussion of scholarly one-health information, the scope of IJID One Health traverses domains of human, clinical and veterinary diagnostics, surveillance, epidemiology, public health responses, innovations and interventions. The Journal will function as a repository of of high-quality research which is multi-disciplinary, within countries, regions, and on a global scale. IJID One Health will help further our combined efforts as the global community prepares for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases of international significance while addressing the endemic challenges of today.

Faculty of Medicine – WHO Collaboration Center: A reference laboratory on Cholera outbreak in Lebanon

Responding to the emergency of the Cholera outbreak in Lebanon at the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine is the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Bacterial Pathogens (WHO-CC) at the Department of Experimental Pathology, Immunology, and Microbiology (EPIM) and the Center for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR). Upon the request of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), the WHO-CC is exclusively engaged in laboratory testing of Vibrio cholerae, at the phenotypic as well as the genotypic levels, for the purpose of a nationwide genomic surveillance of the etiology of Cholera outbreak in Lebanon.

“The nationwide surveillance of Cholera is essential for a timely public health response and the implementation of control measures by the official authorities to halt the spread of the etiological agent of Cholera,” said Dr. Ghassan Matar. “It will be done through the deciphering of the identity and source of the circulating strain using state of the art technology such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).”

Professor Ghassan Matar, who is leading this effort, is chairperson of the Department of EPIM, associate director and laboratory director of the university’s CIDR, and director of the WHO Collaborating Center. Technical lead in this endeavor is Dr. Antoine Abou Fayad, assistant professor in the Department of EPIM. The American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine WHO-CC is leading regionally and globally in the surveillance on Cholera and other communicable diseases as Dr. Matar serves as a member of the Global Task Force of Cholera Control.

Read more here.

The International Society for Infectious Diseases Named Winner of 2022 Amazon Web Services IMAGINE Grant for Nonprofits

Press Release: The International Society for Infectious Diseases will work with Amazon’s cloud computing arm to modernize its global infectious disease surveillance platform, the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases, better known worldwide as “ProMED,” which will improve its ability to find and alert the world to public health threats.

Brookline, Massachusetts (November 29th, 2022) — The International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID) today announced it has been selected as a winner of the 2022 Amazon Web Services (AWS) IMAGINE Grant, a public grant opportunity open to registered 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the United States who are using technology to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. The grant will support ISID’s efforts to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP) into the workflow of its flagship program, ProMED.

Now in its fifth year, the AWS IMAGINE Grant program provides vital resources to nonprofit organizations looking to deploy cloud technology as a central tool to achieve mission goals. As part of the program, AWS seeks proposals for big ideas on how to leverage technology in new and innovative ways to accelerate impact in local and global communities.

ProMED has been delivering infectious disease alerts to email subscribers’ inboxes on a daily basis for 28 years. In 1994 a group of infectious disease doctors came together and wondered if they could harness the power of the internet to create a global network of subject matter experts (SMEs). ProMED was born out of that initial discussion and became one of the earliest global surveillance systems using informal information sources to find and alert the world to pandemic threats. ProMED has an impressive history of being the first to alert the world to many of the 21st century’s most well known outbreaks, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, Chikungunya in 2005, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012, and COVID-19 in 2019.

ProMED consists of 40 SMEs who sit in 28 different countries. The SMEs not only look for emerging outbreaks, but provide review and commentary on every post. This human-curation of media, news reports, and informal sources of information is unique to ProMED and is why ProMED’s posts are daily required reading for clinicians, public health officials, and policy makers, as well as for government and industry concerns including travel, tourism, petroleum, defense, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals. In the fall of 2021, ISID undertook the first step of the vision for ProMED’s next 28 years: migrating all of ProMED’s data and infrastructure over to its own AWS environment.

Now that everything resides on AWS, ProMED can incorporate AWS services like AI and ML to decrease the amount of time SMEs spend manually searching for potentially relevant outbreak information. As inbound data are often full text extractions, the NLP will be trained to extract key features, allowing the SMEs to focus on the quality of the report and simply confirm the NLP results. The combination of these technologies will significantly reduce the amount of time from signal detection to publication of information across the ProMED platform – a critical factor to containing threats and reducing harm.

ISID was named a winner in the Go Further, Faster category which recognizes highly innovative projects using advanced cloud services. ISID will receive $50,000 in unrestricted funding and $10,000 in AWS Computing Credits, and engagement with AWS technical specialists. Proposals were judged on several factors including the innovative and unique nature of the project, impact on mission-critical goals, and clearly defined outcomes and milestones.

“ISID is excited to be the recipient of the AWS IMAGINE grant as this not only recognizes ProMED’s leadership in this space, but jumpstarts our three year strategic plan for the next phase of development for ProMED,” said Linda MacKinnon, CEO of ISID. “We are grateful to AWS for this investment in ProMED and look forward to using AWS product offerings to continue alerting the world to pandemic threats.”

Since the launch of the IMAGINE Grant program in 2018, AWS has awarded over $6M in unrestricted funds, AWS Computing Credits, and AWS training support to 66 nonprofit organizations in support of their technology-driven goals. Previous winners are currently using AWS services to tackle critical challenges such as eliminating barriers to food security, improving maternal health outcomes, helping millions access clean and safe drinking water globally, tackling rare disease research, and more.

“At AWS, we are inspired and encouraged by the nonprofit sector’s commitment to address society’s biggest challenges. Each of our IMAGINE Grant winners is taking innovative approaches to scale their mission impact with technology,” said Allyson Fryhoff, managing director of nonprofit and nonprofit health at AWS. “We’re excited to dive deep with these organizations to help them leverage cloud technology to advance their transformative work that is benefiting communities worldwide.”

Tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations worldwide use AWS to increase their impact and advance mission goals. Through multiple programs tailored specifically to the nonprofit community, AWS can enable nonprofits of all sizes to overcome barriers to technology adoption, while enhancing the scale, performance, and capabilities of mission operations.

For more information on the AWS IMAGINE Grant, visit 

About the International Society for Infectious Diseases

The International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID) is dedicated to developing partnerships through advocacy, education, and delivering solutions to the problems of infectious diseases around the globe. For decades, ISID has encouraged collaborative efforts between human, veterinary, and environmental health communities to best detect, manage, and prevent infectious disease spread. ISID has a particular focus on resource limited countries that disproportionately bear the burden of infectious diseases. ISID is the premier organization convening yearly international conferences on cutting-edge science and community in the field of infectious diseases within a One Health context.

About the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED)

The Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID). ProMED was launched in 1994 as an Internet service to identify unusual health events related to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and toxins affecting humans, animals and plants. ProMED is the largest publicly-available system conducting global reporting of infectious disease outbreaks. It is an essential source of information used daily by international public health leaders, government officials, physicians, veterinarians, researchers, private companies, journalists and the general public, providing timely reporting of important emerging pathogens and their vectors using a One Health approach. Reports are produced and commentary provided by a multidisciplinary global team of subject matter expert Moderators in a variety of fields including virology, parasitology, epidemiology, entomology, veterinary and plant diseases. ProMED has subscribers in almost every country in the world.

Members of the ProMED team sit in more than 30 countries and are constantly scanning for, reviewing, and posting information related to global health security. Over the last 28 years, ProMED has been the first to report on numerous major and minor disease outbreaks and biothreats including SARS, Chikungunya, the early spread of Ebola and Zika, MERS, COVID-19 and many others. ProMED is an important and longstanding contributor to the global emerging and re-emerging infectious disease surveillance landscape.

Support ProMED – Contribute to a Special Fund

In August, we celebrated the start of ProMED’s 28th year of operations. Today we are launching an ambitious fundraising campaign to ensure ProMED has another 28 years ahead of it. Our goal is to raise US $1 million by the end of 2022 from you, our ProMED users, subscribers, and community.

We are asking our colleagues and data consumers for your financial support to keep ProMED going as this year isn’t like any other year. With multiple pandemics still ongoing and public health resources overwhelmed globally, funding for non-traditional, innovative  disease surveillance platforms is not a priority for governments or traditional donors. ProMED is in critical need of financial support.

Did you know:

  • ProMED costs over US 1.5 million per year just to keep the lights on.

  • 96% of ProMED subscribers say they look at ProMED regularly.

  • 99% or ProMED subscribers say they would miss ProMED if it stopped; 61% say they would miss it “a great deal.”

  • It costs $24,000 per year just to send ProMED subscribers the emails they sign up for.

Fewer than .01% of ProMED subscribers contribute funds to support ProMED.

As we grapple with the true cost of information technology, inflation, increased demand for more data on posts and novel diseases, and support for our ever-growing international network, we are asking all of our readers to consider making a $28 donation in honor of ProMED’s 28th anniversary.

If you are one of the 99% of readers who would miss ProMED, please donate today.


Linda C. MacKinnon, MPH, PMP