World health report

Chapter 3

New health threats in the 21st century

The previous chapter identified the main causes of infectious diseases and other acute events that threaten collective public health. Chapter 3 continues with a number of major events that have occurred in the first few years of the 21st century and which represent new threats to national and global public health security. The examples discussed are bioterrorism in the form of the anthrax letters in the United States in 2001, the emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, and large-scale dumping of toxic chemical waste in Côte d’Ivoire in 2006.

In this chapter

  • The anthrax letters
  • SARS: vulnerability revealed
  • Dumping of toxic chemicals