Abstract # 258:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 11, 2001 11:00 AM-12:00 PM: (Fine Arts Auditorium) Featured Speaker


CONCEPTS IN EMERGING DISEASES: PATHWAYS OF CROSS-SPECIES TRANSMISSION AND MICROBIAL TRAFFIC

S. Morse
Department of Epidemiology and Center for Public Health Preparedness, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, 600 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA
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      "Emerging infectious diseases" are those that are newly appeared in the population, or are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range. Recent examples include HIV/AIDS, Rift Valley fever, Lyme disease, West Nile, BSE, and hemolytic uremic syndrome (caused by certain E. coli strains). Infectious disease emergence can be considered as a two-step process: [1] Introduction of the agent into a new host population (often as a cross-species transfer), followed by [2] Establishment and further dissemination. Factors that promote one, or both, of these steps will therefore tend to precipitate disease emergence. The process of pathogens crossing species has long occurred naturally, as different species or populations came into contact, but modern conditions, with the increasing rate of environmental or ecological changes caused by humans, provide greater opportunities to accelerate this evolution. The multiple cross-species transfers of primate lentiviruses are a well known example, while many vector-borne diseases are stimulated by irrigation and other water development activities. Many “emerging infections” of humans originate as zoonoses. However, humans can also inadvertently introduce new diseases into animal populations, as with canine parvovirus or “callitrichid hepatitis” in captive golden lion tamarins. Anticipating and preventing emerging infections requires effective early warning systems and ability to identify and interdict likely “hot spots” of microbial traffic. As an example, ProMED-mail (www.promedmail.org) was developed as a prototype reporting system for emerging diseases.