Emerging trends in international law concerning global infectious disease control

Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Mar;9(3):285-90. doi: 10.3201/eid0903.020336.


International cooperation has become critical in controlling infectious diseases. In this article, I examine emerging trends in international law concerning global infectious disease control. The role of international law in horizontal and vertical governance responses to infectious disease control is conceptualized; the historical development of international law regarding infectious diseases is described; and important shifts in how states, international institutions, and nonstate organizations use international law in the context of infectious disease control today are analyzed. The growing importance of international trade law and the development of global governance mechanisms, most prominently in connection with increasing access to drugs and other medicines in unindustrialized countries, are emphasized. Traditional international legal approaches to infectious disease control--embodied in the International Health Regulations--may be moribund.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Disease Control* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Communicable Disease Control* / trends
  • Global Health*
  • Humans