to the out- break of epidemics, climate changes and natural calamities, upsetting nature's balance. These international threats are brought about by some of the inevitable features of
'fast-age' such as increased speed and volume of air travel, vigorous food production and manipulating the environment to suit human needs. This has resulted in the emergence of new epidemic-prone diseases across the globe, while ensuring the rapid spread of the existing ones.
The pressures of the exploding population, urbanization, environmental degradation and changing climate, provides ample opportunities to the microbes- blessed with the ability to mutate and multiply- thereby
challenging human existence
. Misuse of antibiotics is another factor that worsens the already- grave scenario. Drugs are unable to match the pace at which the resistant variety evolves. Some of the ominous organisms doing the rounds are HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Hanta, Hendra, Nipah, H5A1 causing avian influenza, new variants of the bacterium causing epidemic cholera, microbes responsible for
Legionnaire's disease and meningitis.
These disease outbreaks are historically unprecedented
and are a far greater threat today than they were three decades ago. They maim the existing global economy and stretch the health system in every country, adding to their burden. Unless drastic measures are adopted, this trend is likely to continue. No country is singularly equipped to deal with a crisis of international proportion. Increased
collaboration among the nations of the world
will help in the timely management of epidemic- prone disasters. There is also a need for greater co-operation between governments, corporate sector and citizens to ensure international preparedness and to provide a universal safety net to deal with pan-global health issues.