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Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases

Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) are just the most vivid evidence that all infectious diseases are constantly evolving in the interplay between pathogens, their hosts and other environmental factors influencing both of these. Defined as "infections that have newly appeared in a population or have existed previously but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range"1 there is no shortage in recent history for examples of truly newly emerging diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, variant Creutzfeld-Jacobs disease (vCJD - the human version of "mad cow disease") and SARS as well as of re-emerging diseases such as chikungunya, and influenza.

Research on Emerging Infectious Diseases has been included in the Commission Framework Programmes for Research (FP) since their very inception: HIV projects have been funded as early as 1985 in the first FP and the emergence of vCJD in the mid 1990s triggered a substantial research effort on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) starting from FP4 until today in both the food safety as well as the human health programmes.

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