Future challenges posed by infectious agents are difficult to predict but certainly include the continuing threat of an influenza pandemic, a recurrence of SARS, the emergence of other zoonotic agents that cross the species barrier to humans, the emergence of new bacterial strains that are more virulent or resistant to antibiotics, the possible deliberate release of pathogenic microbes by terrorists, and the likelihood of increased spread of dengue, cholera, West Nile virus, yellow fever, and foodborne diseases. The best defense against these mobile and resilient pathogens is timely and reliable infectious disease information obtained through global public health surveillance.29 The international community has made important strides in developing networks for detecting and reporting infectious disease events and enhancing capacity for clinical and laboratory surveillance. Continued commitment and support are needed to optimize the use of these systems to improve the detection of unusual disease events, strengthen the ability to share disease intelligence, and inform prevention and containment efforts.
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