Since 1994, CDC has been engaged in a nationwide effort to revitalize national
capacity to protect the public from infectious disease. Progress continues
to be made in the areas of disease surveillance and outbreak response; applied
research; prevention and control; and infrastructure-building and training.
These efforts are intended to provide protection against endemic diseases
like tuberculosis and hepatitis C, as well as against whatever new or drug-resistant
Although safeguarding U.S. health is a domestic goal, its achievement
requires international action and cooperation. This is because U.S. health
and global health are inextricably linked. As the AIDS epidemic has illustrated,
a disease that emerges or reemerges anywhere in the world can spread far
and wide. With increased rates of air travel and international trade,
infectious microbes have many opportunities to spread across borders,
whether carried by businessmen and tourists, by mosquitos that hitchhike
on airplanes, or by exotic animals imported as pets or livestock. Microbes
have additional opportunities for spread on international shipments of
fruits, meats, fish, or vegetables.
The international dimension of the effort to combat infectious diseases
is reflected in CDCs growing international role. Whenever a new,
highly dangerous, drug-resistant, or reemerging disease is detected anywhere
on the globe, U.S. citizens, as well as foreign governments, have come
to rely on CDC to provide assistance and public health information. Established
diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, as well as vaccine-preventable
diseases such as polio, demand increasing attention and resources as well.
This increased international engagement has stimulated CDC to rethink
its infectious disease priorities, keeping in mind that it is far more
effective to help other countries control or prevent dangerous diseases
at their source than try to prevent their importation.
This document, Protecting the Nations Health in an Era of Globalization:
CDCs Global Infectious Disease Strategy, represents an important
advance in defining CDCs evolving global mission and in considering
how CDC and its international partners can work together to improve global
capacity for disease surveillance and outbreak response. We look forward
to working with our many partners throughout the nation and the world
as we put this strategy into practice.
Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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