National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa
Professor Lucille Blumberg is currently a consultant in Infectious Diseases at ‘Right to Care’ South Africa. In her new role she will focus on creating a One Health programme within RTC and responding to health emergencies in South Africa and the region. She has specialist qualifications in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. Her special interests are in neglected tropical diseases, emerging pathogens and epidemic –prone infectious agents. She has adopted a One Health approach to all of these over many years especially through collaborative work with zoologists, veterinarians and entomologists. In her next career she wants to come back as an animal health practitioner! In the interim she holds an honorary lectureship in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and established a One Health collaborative project examining zoonosis in an agro pastoral community adjoining the Greater Kruger National Park. She was the recipient of the One Health Award in 2014 from World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) One Health Award.
Until 30 September 2021, she was the Deputy Director at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), of the National Health Laboratory Service, and founding head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response. During her 20 years in the division she has responded to many communicable diseases outbreaks including COVID-19, cholera, influenza A H1N1 (p2009), rabies, Ebola, malaria, typhoid, listeria, diphtheria, measles and polio (Namibia). She currently holds an honorary position at the NICD supporting the division and also acts as the medical consultant to the Centre for Emerging, Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases where her major focus is on malaria, rabies, viral haemorrhagic fevers, zoonotic diseases and travel – related infections. She holds honorary positions in the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Stellenbosch and in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she established DATCOV, a national surveillance system for patients with COVID-19 who were hospitalized. She was also the vice-chair of the WHO committee for the Review of the International Health Regulations during COVID-19 from September 2020 to May 2021. She is currently a member of a number of WHO advisory committees including the scientific advisory group (STAG) for Neglected Tropical Diseases. From 2015 she was a member of the scientific advisory group for the WHO Blueprint for Research and Development for Counter Measures for Emerging Diseases. She was recently appointed to the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards with Pandemic and Epidemic Potential (STAG-IH).
Professor Blumberg has a long-standing association with various national and international journals including as an associate editor of the International journal of infectious Diseases. She is the past chair of the South African Malaria Elimination Committee (SAMEC), and continues to serve on the subcommittee for chemotherapy and prevention. She is a past president of the Infectious Diseases Society of South Africa and a founding member of the Federation for Infectious Diseases Society of Southern Africa.