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The UC Monograph Series 

The first of these is A Brief Overview of the History of Human Communicable Diseases and Potential Future Zoonotic Threats with Particular Reference to Viruses and Tuberculosis by Angus Munro (Vice-President for Research, Development and Policies at The University of Cambodia). It was published on-line with open access by The University of Cambodia Press in January 2017.

This extensive review covers: 

- a basic introductory background on the most relevant aspects of epidemiology; 
- an overview of zoonotic diseases (‘spill-overs’), together with a consideration of the archetypal of these, rabies; 
- a survey of present understanding of recent hominin evolution and the spread of humans out of Africa, to set the context for immediately following sections;
- an analysis of the communicable disease burden in ancestral humans (with particular reference to viruses and tubercular bacteria), based on proposed components; 
- evidence for epidemiological transitions subsequent to the time of the out-of-Africa migration; 
- the nature of the contagious diseases which have progressively emerged during this time as a result of spill-overs which have become more-or-less endemic to humans, including the appearance of ‘crowd’ diseases; 
- the continuing threat of other such spill-overs from a diversity of different groups of warm-blooded vertebrates;
- arising out of this is the fact that what have been largely ‘drip-overs’ into isolated communities in the past means that these may represent an increasing threat today with the globalisation of society and the potential for onward transmission to an ever-growing and increasingly interconnected pool of susceptible individuals;
- that such threats are real is supported by historical evidence – the continuing threat of new influenza A strains and for the recent impact of outbreaks of the SARS and Ebola viruses, for example;
- thus it has been proposed that there is the need for a global surveillance system to detect potential future threats, based on the identification of regional ‘hot spots’; 
- this should be part of a campaign to make people aware of such potential threats; 
- however such a campaign needs to take into account the vagaries of human nature and popular (mis-)perceptions and the amplifying impact of ‘social’ media in order to be effective; 
- the same applies for the vagaries of different nations, as exemplified by not only the availability of adequate infrastructure but also differences in attitude as reflected by that to vaccines.

The present monograph is unique in the scope of its coverage, aspiring to cover a diversity of fields from the microbiological through to the need to consider economic and sociological factors in dealing with disease threats.

A copy of the whole monograph can be found here.

 

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