The challenge of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases

Nature. 2004 Jul 8;430(6996):242-9. doi: 10.1038/nature02759.


Infectious diseases have for centuries ranked with wars and famine as major challenges to human progress and survival. They remain among the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Against a constant background of established infections, epidemics of new and old infectious diseases periodically emerge, greatly magnifying the global burden of infections. Studies of these emerging infections reveal the evolutionary properties of pathogenic microorganisms and the dynamic relationships between microorganisms, their hosts and the environment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioterrorism / prevention & control
  • Bioterrorism / trends*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / microbiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / transmission*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology
  • Drug Resistance
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Humans