Medical News & Perspectives |

Researchers Wrestle With Spread and Control of Emerging Infections

Joan Stephenson, PhD
JAMA. 2002;287(16):2061-2063. doi:10.1001/jama.287.16.2061.
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Atlanta—The aftershocks of a seismic event in the infectious diseases community—the use of anthrax as a biological weapon—continue to reverberate. But bioterrorism is but a small component of the field of emerging infections, and researchers presenting new findings here at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases reported developments on a number of fronts.

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Researchers are worried about an unfolding HIV epidemic in the Murmansk region of Russia, an area that has recently experienced a dramatic surge in new HIV/AIDS cases.

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The fecal droplet on this "kissing bug," Rhodnius prolixus, contains the parasite responsible for Chagas disease, as well as symbiotic bacteria that the insect needs to thrive. Genetically altered bacteria that make the bug incapable of harboring the parasite may someday help control spread of the infection. (Photo credit: Robert B. Tesh, MD)

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