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Uruguayan Medical Journal

ISSN: 1688-0390

Vol.32 - Nº 1 - Abr. 2016

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Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases: updated information

Rev Med Urug 2016; 32: 52-58
Full text (spanish) |  Full text (spanish) (New windows, pdf) | Abstract


In the late 20th century, several different factors contributed to the appearance of emerging infectious diseases that had a great impact on public health. In general, these diseases are characterized by appearing for the first time, they rapidly increase in incidence in certain populations or geographical area, or they have been known for some time although they have disappeared for a long time.

A few infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS have persisted for several years, while others, after appearing, last limited periods of time.

Multiple factors, apart from the infectious agent, take part in the complex process that results in the emergence of an infectious disease. Thousands of potentially pathogenic microorganisms are constantly disseminated in new geographical areas, although just a few manage to survive and cause diseases, favored by social, economic, environment and ecologic factors.

This global phenomenon requires continuous epidemiological surveillance, with a national and regional infrastructure that enables an early alert upon these diseases that emerge or re-emerge.