The World Health Organization reports that at least 30 new diseases have been scientifically recognized around the world in the last 20 years. Diseases such as SARS, Ebola, cryptosporidiosis and HIV are emerging without warning -- and some without cures. At the same time, diseases considered to be part of our past such as tuberculosis, cholera, and diphtheria are making a comeback.
Collectively, infectious diseases account for 25% of all annual physician visits. The total cost of treatment and lost productivity associated with infectious diseases in Canada is estimated to exceed $12 billion each year. Antibiotics are the second most frequently prescribed class of drugs -- second only to pain relievers.