Maps show status of human infections around the world

Maps show status of human infections around the world

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UK: MusartE Continuendo Foundation (The Netherlands), Infectious Disease Research Foundation (The Netherlands) and the Wellcome Trust jointly produced and released the Atlas of Human Infectious Diseases. It is a collection of up-to-date maps presenting the status of major human infections around the world.

Dr Heiman Wertheim, one of its editors, said, “My career as a clinical microbiologist has been based on understanding the special preferences of infectious agents for specific niches and hosts. During my training, I encountered Mary Wilson’s book ‘A World Guide to Infections’ and realised that, in order to render infectious diseases easily understandable, one has to display the overwhelming amount of available data using concise presentations like maps. ‘A World Guide to Infections’ was an eye-opener, as it comprehensively displayed the distribution of infectious diseases using tables, texts and several maps.”

Dr Wertheim explained, “The map-making began in 2007. As the distribution of infectious diseases adjusts to a shifting environment (war, deforestation, flooding and other changes), maps need periodic updates. Therefore, this atlas should be seen as a starting point and a living document. Besides showing the status of infectious diseases through to 2011, the atlas also helps explain why diseases occur where they do, by showing the driving forces behind them.”

Dr Wertheim urged to health professionals to submit their own epidemiological data when they see it has not been included. In particular, data from Africa is often absent due to lack of good diagnostics or of any incentive to publish findings.

Source: Wellcome Trust