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Emerging infectious disease

Emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola and the Zika virus, have the potential to cause a large number of people to fall ill.

These are diseases which have recently been diagnosed or the number of cases has increased over the last 20 years in a specific location or among a specific population.

Ways of catching these diseases can include:

• Respiratory - airborne from one infected person to another

• Vector-borne - spread to humans via a third-party species, such as a mosquito

• Blood-borne - spread between humans via exposure to infected blood

• Food-borne - spread by contaminated food or water.

What can you do?

Emerging infectious diseases are closely monitored by public health agencies and international partners such as the World Health Organisation. Information will be provided on specific diseases as and when they emerge. If you are travelling abroad, check what immunisations you may need and if you have had them before, make sure they are up to date.