World health report

Chapter 2

Threats to public health security

This chapter explores a range of threats to global public health security, as defined by the International Health Regulations (2005), which result from human actions or causes, from human interaction with the environment, and from sudden chemical and radioactive events, including industrial accidents and natural phenomena. It begins by illustrating how inadequate investment in public health, resulting from a false sense of security in the absence of infectious disease outbreaks, has led to reduced vigilance and a relaxing of adherence to effective prevention programmes.

In this chapter

  • Human causes of public health insecurity
    • Inadequate investment
    • Unexpected policy changes
    • Public health consequences of conflict
    • Microbial evolution and antibiotic resistance
    • Animal husbandry and food processing
      • Human bovine spongiform encephalopathy
      • Nipah virus
  • Weather-related events and infectious diseases
  • Other public health emergencies
    • Sudden chemical and radioactive events
    • Industrial accidents
    • Natural phenomena