By Mark Eccleston-Turner, Birmingham City University
Summary of project: The era of infectious diseases was meant to have ended – no longer was man to be burdened by the mortality and morbidity posed by viruses and microbes. The shift in focus towards non-communicable diseases since 2000, at the international and domestic level, is testament to the faith put in such a statement. However, since the new millennium we have seen a promulgation of infectious diseases causing dramatic health implications around the world. SARS, pandemic influenza, MERS, Ebola, Zika, and MDR-infections have all blighted man since 2000, and look set to continue to do so. These infectious diseases in the modern era have also raised a number of difficult legal and ethical questions that need to be answered, including: What is the role of the World Health Organisation in such outbreaks, and how is the organisation to be held accountable when things go wrong? How do we ensure the drugs are created to treat the next outbreak? What is the role of resource rich, disease poor nations in such outbreaks? Are the International Health Regulations that govern international response to infectious diseases fit for purpose? Has the shift to a rights based approach improved the response to infectious diseases? This edited collection is intended to explore these questions, whilst reflecting upon infectious diseases outbreaks that have occurred in the new millennium.