Emerging Infections: Connecting the Dots and Seeking Solutions
The landscape of infectious disease is in constant flux, as pathogens emerge, spread, and ultimately are contained. New challenges may emerge as the result of the movement of genetic elements, including those conferring resistance, from one bacterial strain to another, combined with shifting ecologies and environments, as well as new patterns of human travel and trade. The speaker will illustrate these challenges, drawing from three decades of grappling with enteric infections, and showing how we can better understand them and protect the health of all.
Space, Time, and the Dynamics of Antimicrobial Resistance—a Significant Challenge
With the advent of whole genome sequencing (WGS) and the significant advances in our ability to infer lineage and timelines from genomic data, the potential for science to unravel the origins and evolution of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has, without doubt, improved dramatically. However, with these developments has come the realization that historical biobanks and surveillance data are arguably more important than ever before. The fundamental epidemiological approaches to surveillance and sampling and an understanding of bias and confounding have yet to be fully integrated into our on-going assembly of contextualized WGS data and the need to address the complexity of mobile resistance elements and horizontal gene transfer. Our current level of understanding of AMR has been built on the foresight of disease control experts of previous generations. We now have a responsibility to ensure that, not only do we deliver the tools and technologies of the genomic era, but that we also provide the substrate to which these tools can be applied. A One Health approach that seeks to address the dynamics of AMR can only do so where spatial and temporal aspects are, by design, included in our considerations and essential components of surveillance systems.
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