The world health report

Chapter 1

Evolution of public health security

This chapter begins by tracing some of the first steps, historically, that led to the introduction of the International Health Regulations (1969) – landmarks in public health starting with quarantine, a term coined in the 14th century and employed as a protection against “foreign” diseases such as plague; improvements in sanitation that were effective in controlling cholera outbreaks in the 19th century; and the advent of vaccination, which led to the eradication of smallpox and the control of many other infectious diseases in the 20th century. Understanding the history of international health cooperation – its successes and its failures – is essential in appreciating its new relevance and potential.

In this chapter

  • Building on historical landmarks
    • Plague and quarantine
    • Cholera and sanitation
    • Smallpox and immunization
  • Fostering international cooperation
    • A new code for international health security
    • International preparedness for chemical emergencies
    • New health regulations in a vastly altered world