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Volume 1, Number 1—January 1995

Volume 1, Number 1—January 1995   PDF Version [PDF - 462 KB - 41 pages]

Perspective

  • Emerging Infections: Getting Ahead of the Curve PDF Version [PDF - 61 KB - 6 pages]
    D. Satcher
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    The early history of infectious diseases was characterized by sudden, unpredictable outbreaks, frequently of epidemic proportion. Scientific advances in the late 19th and early 20th centuries resulted in the prevention and control of many infectious diseases, particularly in industrialized nations. Despite these improvements in health, outbreaks of infectious disease continue to occur, and new infections emerge. Since 1987, the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine (IOM) has published three reports that have identified erosion of the public health infrastructure among the factors contributing to new and reemerging infectious diseases. In partnership with many public and private organizations in the United States and abroad, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a strategic plan that addresses the priorities set forth in the IOM reports and serves as a guide for CDC and its partners to combat emerging microbial threats to health. Laboratory-based surveillance, better communication networks, and improvements in the public health infrastructure are the cornerstones of the strategy. Emerging Infectious Diseases, a new periodical produced by CDC, will serve as a forum for exchange of information about incipient trends in infectious diseases, analysis of factors contributing to disease emergence, and development and implementation of prevention measures.

  • Factors in the Emergence of Infectious Diseases PDF Version [PDF - 80 KB - 9 pages]
    S. S. Morse
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    "Emerging" infectious diseases can be defined as infections that have newly appeared in a population or have existed but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range. Among recent examples are HIV/AIDS, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Lyme disease, and hemolytic uremic syndrome (a foodborne infection caused by certain strains of Escherichia coli). Specific factors precipitating disease emergence can be identified in virtually all cases. These include ecological, environmental, or demographic factors that place people at increased contact with a previously unfamiliar microbe or its natural host or promote dissemination. These factors are increasing in prevalence; this increase, together with the ongoing evolution of viral and microbial variants and selection for drug resistance, suggests that infections will continue to emerge and probably increase and emphasizes the urgent need for effective surveillance and control. Dr. David Satcher's article and this overview inaugurate Perspectives, a regular section in this journal intended to present and develop unifying concepts and strategies for considering emerging infections and their underlying factors. The editors welcome, as contributions to the Perspectives section, overviews, syntheses, and case studies that shed light on how and why infections emerge, and how they may be anticipated and prevented.

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