Emerging and Re-Emerging Infections

When disease is caused by an organism that is newly identified and not known previously to infect humans or has changed in susceptibility to an anti-infectious drug, it is commonly called an emerging infectious disease, or simply an emerging infection. The RNA viruses that cause seasonal human epidemics of influenza are highly unstable genetically and mutate frequently during replication. Mutation, or genetic drift, results in susceptibility of individuals regardless of their exposure to the viruses before drift, requiring annual antigenic modifications in seasonal influenza vaccines to ensure protection. The short incubation period, and the mild illness caused by the majority of infections, especially among school aged children, result in rapid transmission potential that leads to seasonal influenza epidemics.

  • SARS coronavirus
  • Hendra virus
  • Hepatitis
  • Human herpesvirus
  • Prion diseases

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