Indexed on: 22 Oct '08Published on: 22 Oct '08Published in: The Lancet
Infectious diseases remain the major causes of morbidity and mortality in China despite substantial progress in their control. China is a major contributor to the worldwide infectious disease burden because of its population size. The association of China with the rest of the world through travel and trade means that events in the country can affect distant populations. The ecological interaction of people with animals in China favours the emergence of new microbial threats. The public-health system has to be prepared to deal with the challenges of newly emerging infectious diseases and at the same time try to control existing diseases. To address the microbial threats, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, the government has committed substantial resources to the implementation of new strategies, including the development of a real-time monitoring system as part of the infectious-disease surveillance. This strategy can serve as a model for worldwide surveillance and response to threats from infectious diseases.