The fear of worldwide pandemics has intensified in recent years. The world has become hot and crowded, travel is relatively easy and cheap and interaction between people, animals, plants and the micro-organisms they carry is higher than any time in the past. Much of this activity is of questionable legitimacy or outright illegal, and thus outside the control of health authorities. Then there is the added threat of bioterrorism. Even tools developed to address the threat, like bioengineering and nanotechnology, often carry their own risk. Dealing with this threat requires new treatments, an improved medical infrastructure and the ability to communicate essential information to the public.
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