ISSN: 2223-2133 (Online), 1815-8986 (Print)
A global perspective on recent epidemics: are there lessons for the Caribbean Region in the coming decade?
E. Gibbs
This paper reviews the changing global landscape of infectious diseases and outlines the history and epidemiology of selected recent epidemics that have relevance to human and animal health in the Caribbean area; specifically, West Nile encephalitis, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, foot-and-mouth disease, avian and canine influenza, classical swine fever, and bluetongue. While it is not possible to predict which new diseases will emerge over the next 10 years to affect the Caribbean countries, one can identify trends. It is safe to say that new diseases will emerge. The region has an excellent record of disease prevention and eradication, but this should not be a justification for celebration and relaxation. Various factors continue to place the Caribbean at risk, ranging from the increased volume of trade and tourism in the region through to global warming. Diseases originating elsewhere in the world could easily involve the region.
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