Emerging Infections

Threats to health and economic security

Authored by: David L. Heymann , Alison West

Routledge Handbook of Global Health Security

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415645478
eBook ISBN: 9780203078563
Adobe ISBN: 9781136155574


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Emerging infections provide a clear example of how infectious diseases cause a threat not only to human health but also to economic security. Emerging infections are caused by microbes that were not known previously to infect humans, or by microbes that were known to infect humans, but have begun to infect persons in a geographic area where they had previously not been seen. They cause human suffering, illness, and death; and they require medical care – sometimes costly because of the requirement for special procedures and protracted hospitalization. Their control may require culling of animals being raised commercially for food or other animal products, with loss of profit. And finally, emerging infections sometimes cause economic loss because of barriers to trade and travel when there is a perceived, often misguided, fear of their international spread.

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