The number of deaths from infectious diseases in the United States has been increasing. In 1992, infectious diseases ranked third among the leading causes of death in the U.S. Infectious diseases are now the leading cause of death worldwide.1
The widespread use of effective antibiotics, the potential for universal immunization for many childhood illnesses, and achievements such as the hopeful eradication of polio created a perception that infectious diseases are no longer a significant worldwide health threat.1
While the spread of some previously epidemic infectious diseases have been controlled, old diseases may rebound and new diseases such as SARS and West Nile Virus emerge. This cycle increasingly challenges medical care and public health professionals.
1 CDC, NCID