In the Congress opening. Leif Ame Hansen. Govemor of Tromso County, exhorted us to make sense of people's needs in the North, and consider how best to use available resources. D.A. Henderson started off the scientific program with an historical perspective on infectious diseases and an admonition to be cal!tious about emerging agents and bioweapons. The well-attended infectious disease general sessions served as a pointed reminder that microbial threats continue to be an important concem to health professionals and to the peoples of the circumpolar region. Respiratory diseases in particular pose a special problem. as was highlighted by papers on tuberculosis. respiratory syncitial virus, inffuenza, pneumococcal disease and the role of molds in domestic housing. New and emerging infections can be expected to provide both new challenges and new opportunities. Rapidly changing social conditions point to an ever expanding array of new microbial threats. Such conditions include exponential increases in urban populations; burgeoning international travel; the industrialization and internationalization of tbe food supply; and the growth of hospitals which, if not scrupulously supervised, serve as an amplifier for the spread of infection. Within the past two decades, the world has witnessed the emergence of HIV-AIDS as a global pandemic. As was pointed out in the opening plenary session, near-catastrophic epidemics of plague and smallpox have occurred in the past and there is no a priori reason to believe that such events might not occur again. The circumpolar regions are not exempt from this danger; having documented destructive and recurrent epidemics of smallpox, inffuenza, tuberculosis and other diseases.