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The global challenges of infectious diseases

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Antimicrobial resistance, infection control, outbreak containment, vaccine development and diagnostic advances: adapting to a changing world

In 2012, on behalf of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID), we reported in the Journal on the infectious diseases challenges for Australia in the coming decade.1 We identified antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a public health crisis requiring global professional and political action, and reflected on how the spread of infectious diseases and AMR is affected by interconnected factors including mass transportation, climate change, environmental perturbations and mass food production. We also noted how enhanced molecular capabilities in therapeutics and diagnostics provide new opportunities for detection and containment.

In this article, we take stock on the progress and changes in the global landscape since our previous report.

The past 3 years have seen increased global recognition of AMR. An ambitious strategy has been launched by the World Health Organization, which convened a ministerial conference on antibiotic resistance in June 2014 and published a draft global action plan.2 Government policies for combating AMR have also been developed in 2014, such as the national strategy in the United States3 and the 5-year plan in the United Kingdom.