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July 17, 1996

A Global Theme Issue on Emerging and Reemerging Global Microbial Threats-Reply

Author Affiliations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1996;276(3):198. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540030032024

In Reply.  —The comments by Dr Plaut illustrate the complacency about infectious diseases that has developed over the past 30 years in the United States and in many other developed countries. Such complacency has resulted in the deterioration of the public health system required to detect, respond to, and minimize the impact of infectious diseases as highlighted in a recent Institute of Medicine report on emerging infectious diseases.1 In fact, infectious diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide and the third leading cause of death in the United States,2,3 and the threats may be increasing.Many pathogens, such as Legionella pneumophila, Hantavirus, and Escherichia coli 0157:H7, have been recognized in the past 25 years, and diseases such as salmonellosis, shigellosis, and wild animal rabies have demonstrated a resurgence. In addition, the increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance has resulted in untreatable enterococcal blood-stream infections and dramatic increases in community-acquired