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

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Sustaining Global Surveillance and Response to Emerging Zoonotic Diseases (2009)

H1N1 ("swine flu"), SARS, and mad cow disease are a few examples of zoonotic diseases—diseases transmitted between humans and animals. Zoonotic diseases are a growing concern given their often novel and unpredictable nature, their ability to emerge anywhere and spread rapidly around the globe, and their major economic toll on several disparate industries. Infectious disease surveillance systems are used to detect this threat to human and animal health. By systematically collecting data on the occurrence of infectious diseases in humans and animals, investigators can track the spread of disease and provide an early warning to human and animal health officials, nationally and internationally, for follow-up and response. Unfortunately, and for many reasons, current disease surveillance has been ineffective or untimely in alerting officials to emerging zoonotic diseases.

Sustaining Global Surveillance and Response to Emerging Zoonotic Diseases assesses some of the disease surveillance systems around the world and recommends ways to improve early detection and response. The report presents solutions for improved coordination between human and animal health sectors, and among governments and international organizations.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

The 1918 influenza pandemic (the so-called “Spanish” flu) is estimated to have killed how many people worldwide?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The 1918 influenza pandemic is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide. Many of those deaths were due to the effects of pneumococcal pneumonia, a secondary complication of flu for which no antibiotics existed in 1918.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The 1918 influenza pandemic is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide. Many of those deaths were due to the effects of pneumococcal pneumonia, a secondary complication of flu for which no antibiotics existed in 1918.

  • Correct!

    The 1918 influenza pandemic is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide. Many of those deaths were due to the effects of pneumococcal pneumonia, a secondary complication of flu for which no antibiotics existed in 1918.