Emerging Viral Infections in Pakistan: Issues, Concerns, and Future Prospects

Health Secur. May/Jun 2017;15(3):268-281. doi: 10.1089/hs.2016.0072.


Emerging infectious diseases pose a serious threat to public health security; this is especially true in the underdeveloped world because of limited resources to combat them. These emerging pathogens are characterized by a novel mode of pathogenesis and, in some cases, a broad host range. Over the past few decades, Pakistan has suffered a great deal from infectious diseases such as dengue, Crimean-Congo fever, hepatitis, measles, and polio. Changing climate conditions, environmental degradation, global warming, loss of biodiversity, and other ecological determinants have a direct effect on these diseases and result in the emergence and reemergence of infectious entities. The causes of such disease outbreaks are complex and often not well understood. Dealing with an outbreak requires an integrated and coordinated approach, with decision making by various state departments. Stringent biosecurity and biosafety protocols can help to reduce the chances of infection dissemination. In order to mitigate the risks associated with emerging pathogens, there is a greater need to understand the interactions of pathogen-host-environment, to monitor molecular evolution and genomic surveillance, and to facilitate the gearing up of scientists across the globe to control these emerging diseases. This article reviews recent outbreaks in Pakistan and challenges for the development of an agile healthcare setup in the country.

Keywords: Climate changes; Emerging infectious diseases; Health security; Mitigate; Pakistan; Polio.

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Disease Control* / trends
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / prevention & control*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Public Health
  • Virus Diseases