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Do These Biodefense Programs Protect us Against Pandemics in Addition to Bioterrorism?

Welcome to Week 3! Now that you are more familiar with the nature and history of infectious disease, consider the following quote from Natalie Angier, American nonfiction writer and a science journalist for The New York Times: “Today, diseases as common as the cold and as rare as Ebola are circling the globe with near telephonic speed, making long-distance connections and intercontinental infections almost as if by satellite. You needn't even bother to reach out and touch someone. If you live, if you're homeothermic biomass, you will be reached and touched. Microbes are, after all, members of the most ancient, zealous and Darwinically gilded 24-7 delivery consortium. They travel by land, sea, air, nose, blows, glove, love, sewage, steerage, rat backs, hat racks, uncooked burritos, overlooked mosquitoes. And, oh, how they love the global village.” Indeed, the same forces of globalization that have lowered barriers to global communication, travel, and commerce have amplified the ability for infectious diseases to spread internationally. In many ways, defense against this common threat is only as strong as each nation’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, and the collective ability of the international community to coordinate these capacities multilaterally.

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