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Public Health Experts Provide Update on Current Infectious Diseases Threats
Date:7/9/2008

WASHINGTON, July 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Updates on the impact of climate changes on insect-borne diseases, the control of MRSA infections, and the importance of childhood immunizations were presented today at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The news conference, sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), also addressed the growing challenge of prevention and treatment of infections due to drug resistant bacteria.

"Infectious diseases pose an ongoing threat to the nation's public health," said Susan J. Rehm, MD, NFID medical director and vice chair, Department of Infectious Disease, at the Cleveland Clinic. "As health care professionals, we need to continue to identify these threats and educate the public about both prevention and effective measures to help control these threats."

The challenges associated with insect-borne infections and climate changes were presented by David M. Morens, M.D., at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Health (NIH). Approximately 1.5 million of 14.8 million annual infectious disease deaths are attributable to insect-borne diseases worldwide. These diseases, such as yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis may cause conditions ranging from encephalitis to congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, blindness and hemorrhagic fevers. Scientists are studying the effects of global warming and the impact of climate changes on increasing insect-borne infections. "The most important needs are better understanding of the behavior of complex ecosystems to which insects belong, reinvigoration of scientific and public health defenses, and more powerful tools to prevent, control and treat insect-borne diseases," said Dr. Morens.

Additional topics discussed at the 13th Richard J. Duma/NFID Annual News Conference and Symposium on Infectious Diseases included:
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SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
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