Definition of Emerging infectious disease

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Emerging infectious disease: An infectious disease that has newly appeared in a population or that has been known for some time but is rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range.

Examples of emerging infectious diseases include:

  • HIV/AIDS (virus first isolated in 1983),
  • Influenza A(H5N1) virus (well known pathogen in birds but first isolated from humans in 1997),

Another example of an emerging infectious disease is the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which was first described in 1996. The agent is considered to be the same as that causing bovine spongiform encephalitis, a disease which emerged in the 1980s and affected thousands of cattle in the UK and Europe.


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