Emerging Infectious Diseases

Is an unstoppable global pandemic possible?


From the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa to a mysterious new illness that killed a Kansas farmer last summer, emerging infectious diseases — illnesses never seen before or that reappear in new places or with new severity — threaten people around the world. About five new infections emerge in humans each year, typically three crossing over from animals. Many new kinds of infections also strike wild and domestic animals. Fifty years ago many medical scientists believed widespread use of antibiotics and vaccines would all but eliminate infectious disease. But factors such as environmental change, population growth, poverty and globalization are spurring new, often deadly, infections. Disease scientists urge policymakers to pay much more attention to animal health and to boost funding for public-health agencies ...

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