Identifying the emerging threats for which we must be vigilant
In 1922, infectious diseases accounted for 15% of all deaths in Australia, but this rate declined dramatically to 1% by 2007 due to a combination of antibiotics, vaccination and public health measures. Yet infectious diseases continue to feature prominently in Australia. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has just released its biennial publication on the health of the nation, Australia’s health 2010 — a statistical and informed commentary that examines a variety of health issues dominating the national landscape.1 Here, I summarise the report’s chapter on infectious diseases to paint a picture of where we are today and the challenges we may well face in our future.
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