European Journal of Health Law 11 : 45-53, 2004. 45 © 2004 Koninklijke Brill N.V. Printed in the Netherlands Communicable Diseases and Human Rights JOSEPH DUTE * 1. Introduction Despite higher standards of living, better nutrition, sanitary improvements, the development of drugs and vaccines and a profound scientific understanding of the ways they spread, communicable diseases are still leading killers. In 2001, communicable diseases caused no less than 14.7 million deaths, being 26% of total global mortality. Three diseases – HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis – count for 39% of deaths as a result of communicable diseases (i.e. 5.6 million deaths). But not only the mortality rate should be taken into account, just as important are the morbidity figures: almost 1 billion people suffer from severe and permanent disabilities and deformities caused by communicable diseases. 1 Communicable diseases are not just horrors of the past, but equally of the present, and old and new diseases will sweep us in the future. We will never be free from them, but measures can be taken to detect outbreaks at the earliest moment possible and to contain epidemics as much as possible. This requires effective surveillance systems, timely application of control measures
European Journal of Health Law – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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