July 17, 2013

West Nile VirusToo Important to Forget

Author Affiliations
  • 1formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg

Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2013;310(3):267-268. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.8041

Another round of emerging infections is causing great concern among health authorities and the public. This February, a newly recognized novel influenza subtype (H7N9) appeared in China. By June, at least 38 deaths were attributed to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, a worrisome relative of the virus that spawned the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak.1 Although that outbreak occurred only 10 years ago, severe acute respiratory syndrome seems to have been erased from the collective memory of many health professionals. The same can be said of novel influenza. Today, the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic seems like ancient history. When it comes to emerging infections, short attention spans and poor memories often prevail, with serious consequences.

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