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

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Back to the Future: The 1918 Influenza Revisited (2009)

Public health officials and organizations around the world remain on high alert because of increasing concerns about the prospect of an influenza pandemic, which many experts believe to be inevitable. The 1918 - 1919 influenza pandemic killed more people in absolute numbers than any other disease outbreak in history. There are lessons to be learned from the 1918 outbreak, regarding how we address the issues facing us today.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: The only way public health agencies can deal with infectious disease is to have good surveillance in place, wait for an outbreak to happen in a human population, and then rush to contain it.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.

  • Correct!

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.