Emerging Disease Factors
• Exploration and now travel cause mixing of viruses around the world, most notably with Yellow Fever and West Nile Virus.
• West Nile emergence may be understood by considering that it is a phylogenetically-related virus that uses a mosquito vector that hides in toilets of airplanes.
• Many viruses have evolved during and after human urbanization, such as measles and smallpox.
• Factors contributing to emergence have gotten worse in the last ten years, as assessed by an Institute of Medicine report.
• Evolutionary opportunities for viruses generally drive adaptation.
Expected Trajectory for SARS
• Generally with emerging diseases, an individual doctor makes a diagnosis, CDC tracks it through local and state health departments, NIH builds research and knowledge through academia, and industry makes products to fill needs.
• We need to get ahead of this process to beat SARS in a timely and effective way.
• Seasonality, healthcare budgets, and local cultures, particularly in Third World countries, will make eradication difficult.
• Strict U.S. standards may require that drugs or vaccines developed here be manufacture
d and produced overseas.
• There needs to be a group nationally responsible for antiviral or antiinfective drugs and vaccines.