Changing patterns of infectious disease


Despite a century of often successful prevention and control efforts, infectious diseases remain an important global problem in public health, causing over 13 million deaths each year. Changes in society, technology and the microorganisms themselves are contributing to the emergence of new diseases, the re-emergence of diseases once controlled, and to the development of antimicrobial resistance. Two areas of special concern in the twenty-first century are food-borne disease and antimicrobial resistance. The effective control of infectious diseases in the new millennium will require effective public health infrastructures that will rapidly recognize and respond to them and will prevent emerging problems.

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Figure 1: The ten leading causes of death in the United States in 1900 and 1997.
Figure 2: Factors influencing the decrease in infectious diseases in the twentieth century.
Figure 3: Factors leading to the emergence of infectious diseases.


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Cohen, M. Changing patterns of infectious disease. Nature 406, 762–767 (2000).

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