The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Microbial Evolution and Co-Adaptation: A Tribute to the Life and Scientific Legacies of Joshua Lederberg (2009)

Dr. Joshua Lederberg—scientist, Nobel laureate, visionary thinker, and friend of the Forum on Microbial Threats—died on February 2, 2008. It was in his honor that the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats convened a public workshop on May 20-21, 2008, to examine Dr. Lederberg's scientific and policy contributions to the marketplace of ideas in the life sciences, medicine, and public policy. The resulting workshop summary, Microbial Evolution and Co-Adaptation, demonstrates the extent to which conceptual and technological developments have, within a few short years, advanced our collective understanding of the microbiome, microbial genetics, microbial communities, and microbe-host-environment interactions.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: The only way public health agencies can deal with infectious disease is to have good surveillance in place, wait for an outbreak to happen in a human population, and then rush to contain it.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.

  • Correct!

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.