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Crucial early-warning listserv for tracking disease outbreaks is in danger

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Internal dissent within the mostly volunteer disease-news network known as ProMED—which alerted the world to the earliest cases of COVID, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and SARS—has broken out into the open and threatens to take down the internationally treasured network unless an external sponsor can be found.

The struggle for the future of the low-tech site, which also sends out each piece of content on a no-reply email list with 20,000 subscribers, has been captured in dueling posts to its front page. On July 14, a post by ProMED’s chief content officer, a veterinarian and infectious-disease expert named Jarod Hanson, announced that ProMED is running out of money. Because it is being undermined by data-scraping and reselling of its content, Hanson wrote, ProMED would turn off its RSS and Twitter feeds, limit access to its decades of archives to the previous 30 days, and introduce paid subscriptions.

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