The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control use the following as the definition of emerging infectious disease:
- New infections resulting from changes or evolution of existing organisms (i.e. novel organisms);
- Known infections spreading to new geographic areas or populations;
- Previously unrecognized infections appearing in areas undergoing ecologic transformation;
- Old infections reemerging as a result of antimicrobial resistance in known agents or breakdowns in public health measures.
Novel influenza and MERS-CoV
The World Health Organization is closely monitoring novel and emerging respiratory infections.
- Influenza at the human-animal interface - Influenza viruses circulating in animals pose threats to human health. Humans can become ill when infected with viruses from animal sources, such as avian or swine influenza virus subtypes.
The risk of transmission of novel influenza virus (such as avian influenza A (H7N9) or novel coronavirus) is currently low in Canada. However, it is important that all health care providers are aware of the steps to identify, diagnose, and treat persons who may be infected with these viruses.