Globalization of human infectious disease

Ecology. 2007 Aug;88(8):1903-10. doi: 10.1890/06-1052.1.


Globalization has facilitated the spread of numerous infectious agents to all corners of the planet. Analysis of the Global Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Network (GIDEON) database quantitatively illustrates that the globalization of human infectious agents depends significantly on the range of hosts used. Infectious agents specific to humans are broadly and uniformly distributed, whereas zoonotic infectious agents are far more localized in their geographical distribution. Moreover, these patterns vary depending on transmission mode and infectious agent taxonomy. This dichotomy is unlikely to persist if certain aspects of globalization (for example, exotic species introductions) continue unabated. This raises a serious concern for public health and leaves nations with the task of determining the infectious agents that have the greatest potential to establish within their borders. At the advent of a century characterized by an apparent increase in emerging infectious diseases, these results have critical implications for public-health policy and future research pathways of infectious disease ecology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / transmission*
  • Communicable Diseases / veterinary
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / transmission
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / veterinary
  • Demography
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious
  • Humans
  • Public Health*
  • Species Specificity
  • Travel
  • Zoonoses*