The Threat from Viruses

  • Patrick L. Iversen


Infectious disease represent the most significant threat to human health. Significant geologic cataclysmic events have caused the extinction of countless species, but these “Wrath of God” events predate the emergence of Homo sapiens. Pandemic infections have accompanied the rise of human civilization frequently re-occurring leaving a lasting imprint on human history punctuated by profound loss of life. Emerging infections become endemic and are here to stay marking their presence with an annual death toll. Each decade brings a new onslaught of emerging infectious agents. We are surprised again and again but are never prepared. The long-term consequences often remain unrecognized and are always inconvenient including cancer, cardiovascular disease and immune associated diseases that threaten our health. Reliance on clusters of clinical symptoms in the face of diverse and non-descriptive viral infection symptoms is a foolhardy form of crisis management. Viral success is based on rapid replication resulting in large numbers. Single-stranded RNA viruses with their high replication error rate represent a paradigm for resilience.


Emerging infectious disease Endemic Outbreak Pandemic Epidemic Zoonotic Epidemiologic 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick L. Iversen
    • 1
  1. 1.LS PharmaOregon State UniversityGrand JctUSA

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