The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

 

New infectious diseases are emerging and old ones are appearing in new places around the globe. What’s behind this trend? And to what extent has human behavior amplified the problem? The National Academies, advisers to the nation in science, engineering, and medicine, provide the information you need to understand this complex topic.

 

Infection

Microbes are all around us. Most don’t do any harm but what about the few that cause infection? Learn the basics.

Threats

Certain aspects of disease are a particular threat to us today. What are some of the things we're most concerned about in the United States?

Challenges

Infectious disease isn’t limited by national borders. Learn how our modern way of life contributes to the spread and emergence of disease.

Prevention

What do we need to do—as individuals and as a society—to stave off the threat of infectious disease?

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Infectious Disease Videos

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What You Need to Know About Infectious Disease

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Major pharmaceutical companies have great interest in dedicating resources to the antibiotics market because these short-course drugs are more profitable than drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments are more profitable. Modern medicine needs new kinds of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections, but antibiotic research and development are expensive, risky, and time-consuming.

  • Correct!

    Drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments are more profitable. Modern medicine needs new kinds of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections, but antibiotic research and development are expensive, risky, and time-consuming.

Infectious Disease Defined

Vector

An organism (usually an arthropod such as a flea, mosquito, or tick) that carries an infectious agent from reservoir to host.

View our full glossary

Disease Watchlist

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria carried in the urine of infected animals. Many different kinds of wild and domestic animals may carry the bacterium (e.g., cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, rodents, wild animals).

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