Public health officials and organizations around the world remain on high alert because of increasing concerns about the prospect of an influenza pandemic, which many experts believe to be inevitable. Moreover, recent problems with the availability and strain-specificity of vaccine for annual flu epidemics in some countries and the rise of pandemic strains of avian flu in disparate geographic regions have alarmed experts about the world's ability to prevent or contain a human pandemic. The workshop summary, The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready? addresses these urgent concerns.
For more than 50 years, low-cost antimalarial drugs silently saved millions of lives and cured billions of debilitating infections. Today, however, these drugs no longer work against the deadliest form of malaria that exists throughout the world. Malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa currently just over one million per year are rising because of increased resistance to the old, inexpensive drugs. Although effective new drugs called artemisinins are available, they are unaffordable for the majority of the affected population, even at a cost of one dollar per course.
The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in late 2002 and 2003 challenged the global public health community to confront a novel epidemic that spread rapidly from its origins in southern China until it had reached more than 25 other countries within a matter of months. In addition to the number of patients infected with the SARS virus, the disease had profound economic and political repercussions in many of the affected regions. Recent reports of isolated new SARS cases and a fear that the disease could reemerge and spread have put public health officials on high alert for
The resistance topic is timely given current events. The emergence of mysterious new diseases, such as SARS, and the looming threat of bioterrorist attacks remind us of how vulnerable we can be to infectious agents. With advances in medical technologies, we have tamed many former microbial foes, yet with few new antimicrobial agents and vaccines in the pipeline, and rapidly increasing drug resistance among infectious microbes, we teeter on the brink of loosing the upperhand in our ongoing struggle against these foes, old and new. The Resistance Phenomenon in Microbes and Infectious Disease
Admittedly, the world and the nature of forced migration have changed a great deal over the last two decades. The relevance of data accumulated during that time period can now be called into question. The roundtable and the Program on Forced Migration at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University have commissioned a series of epidemiological reviews on priority public health problems for forced migrants that will update the state of knowledge. Malaria Control During Mass Population Movements and Natural Disasters -- the first in the series, provides a basic overview of
Zoonotic diseases represent one of the leading causes of illness and death from infectious disease. Defined by the World Health Organization, zoonoses are those diseases and infections that are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and man with or without an arthropod intermediate. Worldwide, zoonotic diseases have a negative impact on commerce, travel, and economies. In most developing countries, zoonotic diseases are among those diseases that contribute significantly to an already overly burdened public health system. In industrialized nations, zoonotic diseases are of particula
So you think modern medicine has the whole virus game figured out? Think again. And it s not even a question of if we ll be hit by some new and deadly disease it s when.
The war on germs is being fought on many fronts from the skirmishes with disease-carrying mosquitoes that cross oceans hidden away in airline wheel wells to the high-profile battle against terrorists wielding deadly bioweapons. Today s bold headlines would have us believe that the biggest threat comes from bioterrorism. But don t underestimate Mother Nature, perhaps the most savage bioterrorist of all. Assisted by
Since the dawn of medical science, people have recognized connections between a change in the weather and the appearance of epidemic disease. With today's technology, some hope that it will be possible to build models for predicting the emergence and spread of many infectious diseases based on climate and weather forecasts. However, separating the effects of climate from other effects presents a tremendous scientific challenge.
Can we use climate and weather forecasts to predict infectious disease outbreaks? Can the field of public health advance from "surveillance and response" to
Before effective treatments were introduced in the 1950s, tuberculosis was a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Health care workers were at particular risk. Although the occupational risk of tuberculosis has been declining in recent years, this new book from the Institute of Medicine concludes that vigilance in tuberculosis control is still needed in workplaces and communities. Tuberculosis in the Workplace reviews evidence about the effectiveness of control measures such as those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intended to prevent
In October 1999, the Forum on Emerging Infections of the Institute of Medicine convened a two-day workshop titled International Aspects of Emerging Infections. Key representatives from the international community explored the forces that drive emerging infectious diseases to prominence. Representatives from the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe made formal presentations and engaged in panel discussions. Emerging Infectious Diseases from the Global to the Local Perspective includes summaries of the formal presentations and suggests an agenda for future action. The topi