Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub,
MD, Senior Editor.
In Reply: Dr Mahendradhata is correct in pointing
out the importance of public health measures in the detection, treatment,
and prevention of infectious disease. As I stated in the Editorial, the best
defenses against emerging microbial pathogens are “public health measures
coordinated with biomedical research.” Developing strategies to measure
the effectiveness of health care delivery is certainly an important part of
a robust public health effort.
The recent severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak offers an excellent
example of how a multifaceted effort by public health agencies and researchers
around the world led to the successful containment of a fatal disease.1 Public health efforts, including case identification,
case isolation, contact tracing, and infection control, along with state-of-the
art biomedical and genomic technologies, allowed public health officials to
rapidly identify the coronavirus as the etiologic agent, and to conduct effective
surveillance of the virus as it emerged and evolved in different geographic
regions. Without the coordination of public health measures and newly developed
biotechnologies, the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic might have
rapidly developed into a worldwide pandemic.
Fauci AS. Emerging Infectious Diseases—Reply. JAMA. 2005;293(5):554. doi:10.1001/jama.293.5.554-b