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?

Which of the following is NOT a type of infectious agent?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    White blood cells are not a type of infectious agent. Part of the immune system, white blood cells fight infection rather than cause it. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    White blood cells are not a type of infectious agent. Part of the immune system, white blood cells fight infection rather than cause it. 

  • Correct!

    White blood cells are not a type of infectious agent. Part of the immune system, white blood cells fight infection rather than cause it. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    White blood cells are not a type of infectious agent. Part of the immune system, white blood cells fight infection rather than cause it. 

Infectious Disease Defined

Natural Selection

The process by which certain heritable traits that contribute to the survival and reproductive success of an organism become more widespread within a population over successive generations.

View our full glossary

Disease Watchlist

Smallpox

Smallpox is caused by the variola virus, which emerged in human populations thousands of years ago. The disease comes in two forms—variola major and variola minor.

Learn More