infectious diseases. One participant in the Workshop on the Impact of Globalization on Infectious Disease Emergence and Control described the situation thus: just as the globalization of infectious diseases is characterized by a transformation of separate entities into a unified epidemiological system, disease control capacity in one part of the globe can readily be deployed to fight diseases in other parts of the world.

Workshop participants discussed the impacts of increasingly integrated trade, economic development, human movement, and cultural exchange on patterns of disease emergence and reemergence; identified opportunities for countering those impacts; examined the scientific evidence supporting current and potential global strategies; and considered new response methods and tools available for use by private industry, public health agencies, regulatory agencies, policy makers, and academic researchers. Participants included experts from the international community, industry, academia, the public health community, and government; invited international participants included key representatives from the Americas, the European Union, and Russia. Detailed summaries of the workshop’s formal presentations and roundtable discussions are presented in Chapters 1 through 4 of this report.

At one point during the workshop, a call was made to heed the danger of equating globalization with Americanization, as an international point of view is crucial to a true understanding of the issues. Participants were also asked to strike a balance between what could be perceived as the negative aspects of globalization and its humanizing and empowering potential. As one participant explained, to examine the globalization of emerging infectious disease, one must address a more general tension that characterizes any globalization phenomenon: that between globalization as opportunity, the view taken by Friedman (2000) in The Lexus and the Olive Tree, and as something that is frightening and potentially dangerous, the perspective taken in the more radical social scientific literature (see Appendix A). As another participant put it, while examining the responses needed to meet this Malthusian challenge, one concludes that the solutions may be unearthed from the problem.


Globalization is by no means a new phenomenon; transcontinental trade and the movement of people date back at least 2,000 years, to the era of the ancient Silk Road trade route. The global spread of infectious disease has followed a parallel course. Indeed, the emergence and spread of infectious disease are, in a sense, the epitome of globalization. By Roman times, world trade routes had effectively joined Europe, Asia, and North America

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement