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


This overview chapter of DCP3's Major Infectious Diseases volume recognizes that infectious diseases were responsible for the largest global burden of premature death and disability until the end of the twentieth century when noncommunicable diseases surpassed them. The decline of the vaccine-preventable diseases has contributed to a recognition that vaccines may be able to prevent other infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis C, and a variety of neglected tropical diseases. Differential diagnosis holds the key to population infection control. For each major infectious disease—HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, viral hepatitis, and neglected tropical diseases—interventions are considered for costs and cost-effectiveness. Because of increased bacterial resistance, interventions look to decrease the need for antibiotics by preventing infections and the unnecessary use of antibiotics in humans and animals. Four challenges must be addressed to achieve meaningful progress countering infectious diseases: (1) targeting of intervention strategies; (2) scaling-up of interventions; (3) integrating services more effectively across disease areas; and (4) developing new technologies including drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, behavioral interventions, and delivery methods.