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Introduction

Authored by: Jeremy Youde , Simon Rushton

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

10.4324/9780203078563.intro

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Abstract

As is so often the case, clichés can obscure the existence of a deeper truth. It has become traditional for books examining the global dimensions of health to begin with a statement to the effect that “pathogens do not respect national borders.” In reality, of course, they never did – as is shown by the countless examples of deadly diseases that have swept across entire continents throughout human history. Yet it is undoubtedly true that something fundamental has changed as a result of globalization. Diseases have long spread along trade and travel routes, but the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the global spread of H1N1 “swine flu” in 2009 demonstrated the rapidity with which germs and viruses can disseminate as a result of the rapid movement of people and goods around the planet. At the same time other globalization-related processes – including migration, urbanization, climate change, and global markets in food and other goods – have increased the possibilities of local epidemics becoming global pandemics. Diseases have never been containable, but health is undoubtedly more global now than ever before.

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