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Recent experiences in infectious diseases: strengthening public health infrastructure in disease surveillance.
Contact. 2005 Jan; (179):29-31.In the past century there have been remarkable achievements in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Bacteria and viruses have been identified; laboratory techniques have greatly advanced; the pathogenesis and epidemiology have been defined for most diseases; and antibiotics and vaccines have been developed to treat and prevent a host of discusses. Examples are everywhere. We have eradicated smallpox and come close to doing the same for polio. Inexpensive treatments such as Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) for diarrhoea have greatly reduced mortality and morbidity among children. Improvements in water and sanitation helped to reduce expose to certain pathogens. Yet, despite these great successes in controlling and treating infectious diseases, they remain a serious medical burden in both developing and industrialized in countries. It is estimated that about 15 million of the 57 million annual deaths (about 26%) are directly related to infectious diseases. This estimate does not include deaths due to the consequences of past infections (for example, rheumatic heart disease) or from complications of chronic infections (for example, hepatocellular carcinoma from hepatitis B infection). (excerpt)