Major Infectious Diseases: Key Messages from Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition

Authors: King Holmes, Stefano Bertozzi, Barry R. Bloom, Prabhat Jha, Hellen Gelband, Lisa M. De Maria, Sue Horton


Infectious diseases were responsible for the largest global burden of premature death and disability until the end of the twentieth century, when that distinction passed to noncommunicable diseases. Over the previous centuries, global pandemics of infectious diseases, such as smallpox, cholera, and influenza, periodically threatened the survival of human populations. At least as early as the late 1800s, improved living conditions (such as better sanitation and piped water supplies), particularly in high-income countries (HICs), began to drive down the infectious disease burden.