Skip Navigation LinksSkip Navigation Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safer Healthier People
Blue White
Blue White
bottom curve
CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z spacer spacer
spacer
Blue curve MMWR spacer
spacer
spacer

The content on this page is being archived for historic and reference purposes only. The content, links, and pdfs are no longer maintained and might be outdated.

Emerging Infectious Diseases

Introduction

Despite predictions earlier this century that infectious diseases would soon be eliminated as a public health problem (1), infectious diseases remain the major cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of illness and death in the United States. Since the early 1970s, the U.S. public health system has been challenged by a myriad of newly identified pathogens and syndromes (e.g., Escherichia coli O157:H7, hepatitis C virus, human immunodeficiency virus, Legionnaires disease, Lyme disease, and toxic shock syndrome). The incidences of many diseases widely presumed to be under control, such as cholera, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB), have increased in many areas. Furthermore, control and prevention of infectious diseases are undermined by drug resistance in conditions such as gonorrhea, malaria, pneumococcal disease, salmonellosis, shigellosis, TB, and staphylococcal infections (2). Emerging infections place a disproportionate burden on immunocompromised persons, those in institutional settings (e.g., hospitals and child day care centers), and minority and underserved populations. The substantial economic burden of emerging infections on the U.S. health-care system could be reduced by more effective surveillance systems and targeted control and prevention programs (3).

This issue of MMWR introduces a new series, "Emerging Infectious Diseases." Future articles will address these diseases, as well as surveillance, control, and prevention efforts by health-care providers and public health officials. This first article updates the ongoing investigation of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in the western United States (4).

References

  1. Burnet M. Natural history of infectious disease. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1963.

  2. Kunin CM. Resistance to antimicrobial drugs -- a worldwide calamity. Ann Intern Med 1993;118:557-61.

  3. Lederberg J, Shope RE, Oaks SC Jr, eds. Emerging infections: microbial threats to health in the United States. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1992.

  4. CDC. Preliminary report: foodborne outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections from hamburgers -- western United States, 1993. MMWR 1993;42:85-6.

Disclaimer   All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from ASCII text into HTML. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users should not rely on this HTML document, but are referred to the electronic PDF version and/or the original MMWR paper copy for the official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to mmwrq@cdc.gov.

Page converted: 09/19/98

HOME  |  ABOUT MMWR  |  MMWR SEARCH  |  DOWNLOADS  |  RSSCONTACT
POLICY  |  DISCLAIMER  |  ACCESSIBILITY

Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, MailStop E-90, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A

USA.GovDHHS

Department of Health
and Human Services

This page last reviewed 5/2/01