The National Academies

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

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The Resistance Phenomenon in Microbes and Infectious Disease Vectors: Implications for Human Health and Strategies for Containment—Workshop Summary (2003)

The emergence of mysterious new diseases, such as SARS, and the looming threat of bioterrorist attacks remind us of how vulnerable we can be to infectious agents. With advances in medical technologies, we have tamed many former microbial foes, yet with few new antimicrobial agents and vaccines in the pipeline, and rapidly increasing drug resistance among infectious microbes, we teeter on the brink of losing the upper hand in our ongoing struggle against these foes, old and new. The Resistance Phenomenon in Microbes and Infectious Disease Vectors examines our understanding of the relationships among microbes, disease vectors, and human hosts, and explores possible new strategies for meeting the challenge of resistance.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that was used in some vaccines and other products, has been shown to present a risk to human health.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The use of thimerosal has been an object of controversy, with some arguing that the substance caused autism in children. However, extensive independent research has presented no convincing evidence of harm associated with the low levels of thimerosal previously present in vaccines.

  • Correct!

    The use of thimerosal has been an object of controversy, with some arguing that the substance caused autism in children. However, extensive independent research has presented no convincing evidence of harm associated with the low levels of thimerosal previously present in vaccines.