Emerging Infectious Diseases
Emerging infectious diseases (EID) are a global threat to public health. It is imperative that emergency nurses understand the current infectious disease landscape, participate in timely information-sharing, and become familiar with the tools to contain and combat EIDs.
Emerging infectious diseases can be newly-recognized, like MERS, or well-known diseases breaking out in previously uninfected populations or geographic areas, such as the Chikungunya virus, which recently appeared in Florida.
The term “emerging” also refers to infectious diseases that are reappearing, as measles has just done in California, or that are changing, like the influenza virus does every year. Infections could also be caused by bacteria like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) that have become resistant to antibiotics, or drug-resistant tuberculosis. EIDs can also be zoonotic diseases such as Lyme disease, Salmonella, rabies, and even the plague, which naturally infect animals but can spread to humans.