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Plagues and Peoples - WikipediaCite This Article. In the new millennium, the centuries-old strategy of quarantine is becoming a powerful component of the public health response to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. During the pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the use of quarantine, border controls, contact tracing, and surveillance proved effective in containing the global threat in just over 3 months. For centuries, these practices have been the cornerstone of organized responses to infectious disease outbreaks. However, the use of quarantine and other measures for controlling epidemic diseases has always been controversial because such strategies raise political, ethical, and socioeconomic issues and require a careful balance between public interest and individual rights. In a globalized world that is becoming ever more vulnerable to communicable diseases, a historical perspective can help clarify the use and implications of a still-valid public health strategy. The risk for deadly infectious diseases with pandemic potential e.
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Plagues and Peoples
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Basic and strategic research for infectious disease control at the interface of the life, health and social sciences. Twenty-five years after historian William McNeill's landmark publication Plagues and Peoples McNeill, examined the impact of infectious diseases throughout the ages, it is clear that these scourges have not been relegated to the history books. Contrary to hopes and assumptions spawned by the dawn of the antibiotic era, infectious diseases are still lurking among us and are resurging at an alarming rate. Plagues and people are, and remain, inextricably linked. Tropical diseases used to be studied in isolation, but social, economic, cultural and political factors are emerging as major contributors to their success. It is now acceptable to argue that such diverse events as ecosystem change and urbanization, as well as poverty, inequality, gender relations and many other factors, are decisive issues in the transmission of infectious diseases, and that epidemics are both social and biological events.