Recent years have seen the continuing emergence of new infectious diseases and the re-emergence of old ones. However, there have also been major advances in diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, as well as in our understanding of their pathogenesis. Future control of these diseases will require attention to the behavioural, environmental and healthcare factors that drive microbial evolution. For example, the "epidemic" of injecting drug use promotes HIV spread; Legionnaires' disease is "opportunistic" on air-conditioning and water-treatment systems; and immunosuppressive therapies and medical instruments that are difficult to sterilise (eg, endoscopes and phaco-emulsification handpieces) create opportunities for new infections.
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