Emerging Infectious Disease

An emerging infectious disease (EID) is an infectious disease whose incidence has increased in the past 35 years and could increase in the near future. Emerging infections account for at least 12% of all human pathogens. EIDs are caused by newly identified species or strains (e.g. SARS, AIDS) that may have evolved from a known infection (e.g. influenza) or spread to a new population (e.g. West Nile virus) or area undergoing ecologic transformation (e.g. Lyme disease), or be reemerging infections, like drug resistant tuberculosis. Of growing concern are adverse synergistic interactions between emerging diseases and other infectious and non-infectious conditions leading to the development of novel syndemics.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that identifies the following factors contributing to disease emergence:

  • Microbial adaption; e.g. genetic drift and genetic shift in Influenza A
  • Changing human susceptibility; e.g. mass immunocompromisation with HIV/AIDS
  • Climate and weather; e.g. diseases with zoonotic vectors such as West Nile Disease (transmitted by mosquitoes) are moving further from the tropics as the climate warms
  • Change in human demographics and trade; e.g. rapid travel enabled SARS to rapidly propagate around the globe
  • Economic development; e.g. use of antibiotics to increase meat yield of farmed cows leads to antibiotic resistance
  • Breakdown of public health; e.g. the current situation in Zimbabwe
  • Poverty and social inequality; e.g. tuberculosis is primarily a problem in low-income areas
  • War and famine
  • Bioterrorism; e.g. 2001 Anthrax attacks
  • Dam and irrigation system construction; e.g. malaria and other mosquito borne diseases

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... their definition of a nit to these persistent and non-infectious eggshells ... these authors refer to "eggs" as being those that are likely to hatch and are therefore potentially infectious ... In part, this unwillingness to differentiate between infectious and non-infectious "nits" stems from the notorious difficulty in properly identifying ...
Laura Manuelidis
... for the cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (better known as "Mad Cow Disease") and the human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ... In his work, he coined the term prion ("proteinacious infectious agents") to refer to a previously undescribed form of infection due to malformed proteins ... found a virus that could be responsible for the diseases ...
Webster Centre For Infectious Diseases
... The Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases is a research Centre based at the University of Otago, New Zealand dedicated to supporting basic research in infectious diseases throughout New Zealand ... is to provide molecular solutions to problems in infectious diseases through the application of modern methods of molecular and translational research ... sponsored seminar programs and New Zealand wide symposiums on Infectious Disease Research ...

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