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Home Eurosurveillance Weekly Release  2003: Volume 7/ Issue 12 Article 6
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Eurosurveillance, Volume 7, Issue 12, 20 March 2003

Citation style for this article: Institute of medicine publishes new report on microbial threats to health. Euro Surveill. 2003;7(12):pii=2192. Available online:

Institute of medicine publishes new report on microbial threats to health

Editorial team (, Eurosurveillance editorial office.

"Microbial Threats to health: emergence, detection, and response", published this week by the Institute of Medicine focuses on the need for renewed commitment faced with the increased impact of infectious diseases in the United States since publication of the landmark report, "Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States" in 1992. The report's authors, the Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st century, recommend enhanced global capacity for response to infectious diseases and stresses the importance of a robust public health system in responding to any disease outbreak.

The report recommends that the US should seek to enhance the global capacity for response to infectious disease threats, focusing in particular on threats in the developing world (1). It also calls for the US to take a leadership role in promoting the implementation of a comprehensive system of surveillance for global infectious diseases that builds on the current global capacity of infectious disease monitoring, and recommends that there should be responsibility for the national vaccine strategy at the highest level of government.

Thirteen principal factors in the emergence of microbial threats are listed in the report, along with details of the existing measures for dealing with them. The report's recommendations also include enhancing infectious disease reporting by medical healthcare and veterinary healthcare providers, and automatic electronic laboratory reporting of notifiable infectious diseases from all relevant major clinical laboratories to their respective state health departments as part of a national electronic infectious disease reporting system.

To avert an imminent crisis resulting from microbial agents' increasing resistance to available antimicrobial drugs, the committee recommends procedures to alert infectious disease control stakeholders to the problem, and more finely targeted use of antimicrobials. The new report is available at:


  1. Institute of Medicine. Microbial threats to health: emergence, detection, and response - summary March 2003. ($file/MicrobialThreat8pgFINAL.pdf)

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