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

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Prevention & Treatment

Infectious disease may be an unavoidable fact of life, but there are many strategies available to help us protect ourselves from infection and to treat a disease once it has developed. Some are simple steps that individuals can take. Others are national or worldwide methods of detection, prevention, and treatment. All are critical to keeping communities, nations, and global populations healthy and secure.

Microbe Awareness

The simple act of washing your hands is considered the most important way to prevent disease transmission.

Some easy steps can prevent the spread of infections. Proper handwashing, careful food preparation, and keeping immunizations current are just a few examples. Learn more here. 

More about microbe awareness

Vaccines & Medicines

Infectious disease may be an unavoidable fact of life, but modern medicine can help protect us from infection and treat disease once it develops.

When you think about how we prevent and treat disease, vaccines and medicines probably come to mind first. Learn how biochemical advances have affected our evolving relationship with microbes—and what concerns health officials about the future.

More about vaccines & medicines

Government Policies

The United States depends on the policies of federal and state agencies to help keep us healthy and secure.

Numerous government agencies monitor the spread of infectious disease in the United States. Some experts believe the system needs to be better coordinated. Find out more about who is charged with protecting our nation from disease threats.

More about government policies

International Cooperation

Health networks are listening in on “viral chatter”—the transmission of animal viruses to humans in places like live animal markets or newly settled areas in the tropics.

Infectious disease is not limited by national borders. Nations around the world must work together to help survey the infectious disease landscape—and warn of any disease outbreaks as quickly as possible.

More about international cooperation

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Infectious Disease Videos

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What You Need to Know About Infectious Disease

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Disease Watchlist

What do you know about infectious disease?

Public health officials can identify the outbreak of disease by monitoring certain patterns of behavior through syndromic surveillance. Which of the following is one of the signs used to identify a disease outbreak using this system?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In syndromic surveillance, all of the above are used in addition to other patterns that suggest an outbreak. Despite the emergence of this innovative surveillance method, most surveillance still depends on tracking reported infections. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In syndromic surveillance, all of the above are used in addition to other patterns that suggest an outbreak. Despite the emergence of this innovative surveillance method, most surveillance still depends on tracking reported infections. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In syndromic surveillance, all of the above are used in addition to other patterns that suggest an outbreak. Despite the emergence of this innovative surveillance method, most surveillance still depends on tracking reported infections. 

  • Correct!

    In syndromic surveillance, all of the above are used in addition to other patterns that suggest an outbreak. Despite the emergence of this innovative surveillance method, most surveillance still depends on tracking reported infections. 

Infectious Disease Defined

Nerve Toxin

A toxin that acts specifically on the nervous system.

View our full glossary

National Academies Press

Search the National Academies Press website by selecting one of these related terms.