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

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

BioWatch and Public Health Surveillance: Evaluating Systems for the Early Detection of Biological Threats—Abbreviated Version, Summary (2009)

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the anthrax letters, the ability to detect biological threats as quickly as possible became a top priority. In 2003 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced the BioWatch program, a federal monitoring system intended to speed detection of specific biological agents that could be released in aerosolized form during a biological attack.

The present volume evaluates the costs and merits of both the current BioWatch program and the plans for a new generation of BioWatch devices. BioWatch and Public Health Surveillance also examines infectious disease surveillance through hospitals and public health agencies in the United States, and considers whether BioWatch and traditional infectious disease surveillance are redundant or complementary.

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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.