The National Academies

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

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Animal Health at the Crossroads: Preventing, Detecting, and Diagnosing Animal Diseases (2005)

The confirmed case of "mad cow" disease (BSE) in June 2005 illustrates the economic impact of disease outbreaks, as additional countries closed their markets to U.S. beef and beef products. Emerging diseases also threaten public health—11 out of 12 of the major global disease outbreaks over the last decade were from zoonotic agents (that spread from animals to humans). Animal Health at the Crossroads: Preventing, Detecting, and Diagnosing Animal Diseases finds that, in general, the U.S. animal health framework has been slow to take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies being used now to protect public health; better diagnostic tests for identifying all animal diseases should be made a priority. The report also recommends that the nation establish a high-level, authoritative, and accountable coordinating mechanism to engage and enhance partnerships among local, state, and federal agencies, and the private sector. 

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Major pharmaceutical companies have great interest in dedicating resources to the antibiotics market because these short-course drugs are more profitable than drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments are more profitable. Modern medicine needs new kinds of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections, but antibiotic research and development are expensive, risky, and time-consuming.

  • Correct!

    Drugs that treat chronic conditions and lifestyle ailments are more profitable. Modern medicine needs new kinds of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections, but antibiotic research and development are expensive, risky, and time-consuming.