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

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Infectious Disease Movement in a Borderless World—Workshop Summary (2010)

Modern transportation allows people, animals, and plants—and the pathogens they carry—to travel more easily than ever before. The ease and speed of travel, tourism, and international trade connect once-remote areas with one another, eliminating many of the geographic and cultural barriers that used to limit the spread of disease. Because of our global interconnectedness through transportation, tourism, and trade, infectious diseases emerge more frequently; spread greater distances; pass more easily between humans and animals; and evolve into new and more virulent strains. The Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats hosted the workshop "Globalization, Movement of Pathogens (and Their Hosts) and the Revised International Health Regulations" on December 16-17, 2008, to explore issues related to infectious disease spread in a "borderless" world. Participants discussed the global emergence, establishment, and surveillance of infectious diseases; the complex relationship between travel, trade, tourism, and the spread of infectious diseases; national and international policies for mitigating disease movement locally and globally; and obstacles and opportunities for detecting and containing these potentially wide-reaching and devastating diseases. This document summarizes the workshop.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Antibiotics work by introducing an agent that resembles a disease-causing microbe, thus stimulating the body's immune system to recognize it as foreign, destroy it, and "remember" it, so that it can more easily identify and destroy any similar, disease-causing microbes that it later encounters.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The above describes how vaccines work. Antibiotics work by either killing bacteria or stopping them from reproducing, allowing the body's natural defenses to eliminate the pathogens.

  • Correct!

    The above describes how vaccines work. Antibiotics work by either killing bacteria or stopping them from reproducing, allowing the body's natural defenses to eliminate the pathogens.