Emerging Infectious Diseases in the 21st Century: A Threat to Global Economic Security

Duke University, National University of Singapore and University of Hawaii


There has been a dramatic global re-emergence of epidemic infectious diseases in the past 30 years. In 2010, infectious diseases are once again a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the world. The reasons for this re-emergence are many, but the principal drivers are uncontrolled urbanization, which has greatly increased infectious disease transmission, combined with the massive movement of people, animals, and commodities via modern transportation into areas that do not have the public health infrastructure to detect and contain introduced pathogens. This provides the ideal recipe for increased epidemic transmission of both well known and novel pathogens. The potential for rapid spread of epidemic disease around the world is a new phenomenon that threatens global economic and public health security.