DEVELOPMENT, GLOBAL CHANGE AND THE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT
Although improvements in human health represent a crucial aspect ofdevelopment worldwide, many trends associated with development and globalchange appear to be reducing health security. In this article, the humaneidemiological environment has been defined and key biophysical, economic,socio-cultural and political factors that shape it have been described. Thepotential impact upon the epidemiological environment of aspects of bothdevelopment and global change are then examined: the influences of humanpopulation size, mobility, geographic distribution and nutritional status;modernization; loss of indigenous medicinal knowledge; microbial evolution ofantibiotic resistance; land conversion and biodiversity loss; agriculturalintensification; stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change. Humanvulnerability to infectious disease is often strongly and deleteriously influenced byongoing, intensi fying changes in these factors. An unprecedented level ofcommunication and cooperation between experts, institutions and nations isrequired to respond to the increasing threat of epidemic disease, which points to apromising area for enhanced interdisciplinary collaboration.
The paper recommends the following as urgent steps to be takeon the front line toimprove the human epidemiological situation;
Reduction of the population to an optimum size, establishment of early warningnetworks and expert response teams to improve the chances of early detection,development of global strategies of highly targeted and minimal antibiotic andpesticide use and the imposition of moratoria to slow the development of resistantstrains of pathogens, application of integrated pest management, worldwidecampaigns on education and awareness of the importance of personnel andcommunity hygiene in preventing disease, provision of international aid forupgrading the facilities of homes, hospitals of poor nations in order to screen thepathogens effectively. While taking the necessary steps to improve theepidemiological environment it is essential that equity of opportunity betweensexes, races, religions and nations be increased which is of vital interest to bothrich and the poor.