Infectious Diseases

Today, Infectious diseases such as respiratory illnesses, the common cold, sexually transmitted diseases, and skin infections continue to exert a substantial toll on the Nation’s health and healthcare resources. Between 1980 and 2014, more than 4 million people lost their lives to infectious diseases. Specifically, Lyme disease has increased steadily since 2010, food poisoning from salmonella has been on the rise since 1960, sexually transmitted infections like syphilis have increased since 2002, and hepatitis A, B, and C have all been on the rise since 2010. The U.S. has seen a significant drop in mortality caused by infectious diseases over the years; however, new and re-emerging infectious diseases have surfaced recently. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has affected minorities disproportionately since 2019. Out of the 880,000 Americans who lost their lives to the pandemic, more than 750,000 were from minority groups across the country. Minorities in the U.S., especially those living in economic poverty, rural areas, and healthcare workers, are all more at risk for infections.

Barriers related to healthcare access, cultural and linguistic exclusion, physical inaccessibility, inequities in the distribution of public health services, and inadequate health education and health literacy contribute to increased cases of infectious diseases in the U.S. Individuals more at risk for infectious diseases are children (under 18), expectant mothers, healthcare workers, those living in areas with high exposure to pathogens, and those living with suppressed immune systems. Recent emerging infectious diseases include HIV, dengue fever, SARS, Zika virus, whooping cough, and COVID-19. Climate change, changing land-use patterns, and rapid urbanization has caused a drastic increase in the emergence of diseases, allowing infectious diseases to thrive in our communities.

Strategies to decrease infectious disease include increasing equitable healthcare and vaccine access. Reversing the burden of infectious diseases calls for safe sex practices, vaccinations, proper building ventilation, wearing masks, washing hands well, proper food safety and regulation, and community-based infectious diseases prevention programs.

Resources & Tools


protesters holding a no planet B sign
Our Climate and Our Health
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Screen capture of Disease Surveillance webpage
Disease Surveillance
Resource - Website/webpage
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Warranty of Habitability in Arkansas which includes icons related to the following: housing; people living in poverty; Qualitative research; basic needs for health and safety
Warranty of Habitability in Arkansas
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
First page of The United States Needs a Better Testing Playbook For Future Public Health Emergencies
The United States Needs a Better Testing Playbook For Future Public Health Emergencies
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Health Affairs
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Kansas Corporate Farming Law which includes icons related to the following: built environment; rural communities; Rural; Primary research;
Kansas Corporate Farming Law
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 02/28/2015
Screen capture of Introduction to Public Health Surveillance webpage
Introduction to Public Health Surveillance
Resource - Guide/handbook
Screen capture of What is Disease Surveillance? webpage
What is Disease Surveillance?
Resource - Website/webpage
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Marin Housing Code Enforcement Policies which includes icons related to the following: affordable housing; people living in poverty; Mixed methods; humane housing
Marin Housing Code Enforcement Policies
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 12/31/2011
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Lawrence Green Streets Program which includes icons related to the following: thriving natural world; people living in poverty; Mixed methods; thriving natural world
Lawrence Green Streets Program
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 03/01/2017
First page of Infectious Disease Surveillance article
Infectious Disease Surveillance
Resource - Journal Article
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Rock County CAFO which includes icons related to the following: environmental health; rural communities; Rural; Primary research; thriving natural world
Rock County CAFO
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Cover page of Ready or Not 2024: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report
Ready or Not 2024: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Trust for America's Health
Screen grab of Infectious Disease Toolkit for CoCs
Infectious Disease Toolkit for CoCs
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by US HUD
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Neenah-Menasha Sewerage Commission Biosolids Storage Facility which includes icons related to the following: built environment; Primary research;
Neenah-Menasha Sewerage Commission Biosolids Storage Facility
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
woman sitting on white bedding Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
Bright Spot: Voices/Voces
Resource - Model Policy
Brought to you by 100MHL
Screen capture of Surveillance in Emergencies webpage
Surveillance in Emergencies
Resource - Website/webpage
person getting a flu shot Photo by Hyttalo Souza on Unsplash
Bright Spot: FLU-FIT and FLU-FOBT Program
Resource - Model Policy
Brought to you by 100MHL
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Texas Water and Sanitation which includes icons related to the following: clean water; people living in poverty; Rural; Mixed methods; thriving natural world
Texas Water and Sanitation
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 05/31/2014
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled HOPE VI to HOPE SF: San Francisco Public Housing Redevelopment which includes icons related to the following: housing; Urban; Survey; humane housing
HOPE VI to HOPE SF: San Francisco Public Housing Redevelopment
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 12/31/2008
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Mystic Island Voluntary Buyout Scenarios which includes icons related to the following: Extreme weather events; Urban; Survey; thriving natural world
Mystic Island Voluntary Buyout Scenarios
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 12/31/2015
Photo of a child being seen by a doctor in a hospital bed
Poverty and the Risk for Severe Influenza Outcomes
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 10/05/2017

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