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Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

Discover the alarming rise of re-emerging infectious diseases and how they pose a significant threat to global health and safety.

USMLE Guide: Re-emerging Infectious Diseases


The article "Re-emerging Infectious Diseases" explores the resurgence of various infectious diseases that were previously under control. This USMLE guide aims to provide a concise overview of the key points discussed in the article, helping medical students prepare for related questions on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

Key Points

1. Definition of Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

  • Re-emerging infectious diseases refer to the reappearance of known infectious diseases, which were previously under control but have resurfaced with increased incidence or in new geographical areas.
  • Factors contributing to the re-emergence include microbial evolution, changes in human behavior and demographics, international travel, and inadequate public health systems.

2. Examples of Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

  • The article highlights several examples of re-emerging infectious diseases, including:
    • Tuberculosis (TB): Due to drug resistance and HIV co-infection, TB has resurfaced as a major global health threat.
    • Measles: Despite the availability of an effective vaccine, measles outbreaks have occurred due to vaccine hesitancy and waning immunity.
    • Cholera: Poor sanitation, contaminated water sources, and inadequate healthcare infrastructure contribute to the re-emergence of cholera in certain regions.
    • Dengue fever: Expanding mosquito populations and global travel facilitate the spread of dengue fever to new areas.

3. Factors Contributing to Re-emergence

  • Microbial evolution and adaptation: Pathogens can evolve resistance to drugs or acquire genetic changes that enhance their virulence.
  • Global travel and migration: Infectious diseases can rapidly spread across borders as people travel internationally, potentially introducing new pathogens to susceptible populations.
  • Socioeconomic and environmental factors: Poverty, inadequate sanitation, and overcrowding create conditions favorable for the transmission of infectious diseases.
  • Climate change: Alterations in temperature, rainfall patterns, and vector habitats can impact the distribution and prevalence of infectious diseases.

4. Strategies for Prevention and Control

  • Strengthening public health systems: Investing in robust surveillance, early detection, and response systems is crucial for preventing and controlling re-emerging infectious diseases.
  • Vaccination programs: Ensuring high vaccination coverage can prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Education and awareness: Promoting public understanding of infectious diseases, their modes of transmission, and preventive measures can help reduce their spread.
  • Research and development: Continued research is necessary to understand the mechanisms of re-emergence and develop effective diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.


Understanding re-emerging infectious diseases is essential for medical professionals, as these diseases pose significant public health challenges. This USMLE guide has provided a concise summary of the key points from the article "Re-emerging Infectious Diseases," equipping medical students with valuable knowledge to tackle related questions on the USMLE.

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