As with war and famine, the severity and frequency with which “pestilences”—epidemics of highly infectious diseases—continue to strike is alarming.
Last century, the medical profession prematurely claimed victory over a wide array of bacterial and viral killers. In 1979, then-U.S. Surgeon General William Stewart declared that it was time to “close the books on infectious diseases.”
As recently as 1983, a medical textbook declared infectious diseases “more easily prevented and more easily cured” than any other major group of disorders.
But instead of fading, the cases of infectious diseases skyrocketed throughout the ’90s. Dr. Sherwin Nuland, in his bestselling book, How We Die, laments, “Medicine’s purported triumph over infectious disease has become an illusion.” Doctors now warn that the current resurgence of drug-resistant bacteria strains could prove to be more deadly than AIDS.