Anthony S. Fauci, MD: From AIDS to Zika, Infectious Diseases are a Perpetual Challenge


Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), shared with MD Magazine what the main theme would be in his keynote address at the AAAAI 2017 meeting in Atlanta, GA: emerging and reemerging infections, a perpetual challenge.

Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), shared a preview of his keynote address at the AAAAI 2017 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia with MD Magazine. His topic: emerging and re-emerging infections, a perpetual challenge. The message is that there have always been new and re-emerging infections. There are several right now., Fauci said. In addition to Zika virus, there was the Ebola outbreak, and in the future there always will be new infectious diseases and old ones that return.

Fauci also spoke about his role in the ongoing government transition in Washington. He said that prior to the swearing in of the various members of the cabinet he was asked to take part in a briefing of the cabinet about what kinds of surprises or threats they may encounter in the first years of the administration - things like terrorist attacks with bombs and bullets, another Hurricane Sandy, cyber attacks, and emerging and re-emerging infections. He noted that he has decades of experience on which to draw, since he became the director of the NIAID 33 years ago in 1984.

"When I came in, Reagan was president and the emerging infection that we hit there was AIDS. And it seems interesting and almost ludicrous that it was from AIDS and Zika, so it's like A-Z infections. And in there with each administration: George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinon, George W Bush, Barack Obama, and President Trump, we have already seen things besides HIV/AIDS like West Nile Virus, pandemic flu, chikungunya, ebola, and now we're just in the middle of, towards the end of, and maybe a resurgence of Zika," Fauci said.

"We are going to see some either new or re-emerging infection in the next year or two or three or four, but if history holds true, it certainly will happen in this administration, so we need to be prepared for it," Fauci said.

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