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Institute of Medicine (US) Forum on Emerging Infections; Burroughs T, Knobler S, Lederberg J, editors. The Emergence of Zoonotic Diseases: Understanding the Impact on Animal and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2002.

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The Emergence of Zoonotic Diseases: Understanding the Impact on Animal and Human Health: Workshop Summary.

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Appendix AGlossary and Acronyms


This glossary is intended to define terms commonly encountered throughout this report as well as some terms that are commonly used in the public health arena. This glossary is not all inclusive. New terms and new usages of existing terms will emerge with time and with advances in technology. The definitions for the terms presented here were compiled from a multitude of sources.


Of, relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature.


Class of substances or chemicals that can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Originally antibiotics were derived from natural sources (e.g., penicillin was derived from molds), but many currently used antibiotics are semisynthetic and are modified by the addition of artificial chemical components.

Antibiotic resistance

Property of bacteria that confers the capacity to inactivate or exclude antibiotics or a mechanism that blocks the inhibitory or killing effects of antibiotics.

Antimicrobial agents

Class of substances that can destroy or inhibit the growth of pathogenic groups of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.


To reduce the severity of (a disease) or virulence or vitality of (a pathogenic agent).


The presence of bacteria in the bloodstream.


Microscopic, single-celled organisms that have some biochemical and structural features different from those of animal and plant cells.


A virus that infects bacteria—also called phage.

Basic research

Fundamental, theoretical, or experimental investigation to advance scientific knowledge, with immediate practical application not being a direct objective.


For a particular indicator or performance goal, the industry measure of best performance. The benchmarking process identifies the best performance in the industry (health care or nonhealth care) for a particular process or outcome, determines how that performance is achieved, and applies the lessons learned to improve performance.

Broad-spectrum antibiotic

An antibiotic effective against a large number of bacterial species. It generally describes antibiotics effective against both gram-positive and gram-negative classes of bacteria.

BSL (Biosafety Level)

Specific combinations of work practices, safety equipment, and facilities, designed to minimize the exposure of workers and the environment to infectious agents. Biosafety Level 1 applies to agents that do not ordinarily cause human disease. Biosafety Level 2 is appropriate for agents that can cause human disease but whose potential for transmission is limited. Biosafety Level 3 applies to agents that may be transmitted by the respiratory route, which can cause serious infection. Biosafety Level 4 is used for the diagnosis of exotic agents that pose a high risk of life-threatening disease, which may be transmitted by the aerosol route and for which there is no vaccine or therapy.


The leading cause of bacterial food poisoning, caused by a Campylobacter jejuni, most often spread by contact with raw or undercooked poultry. A single drop of juice from a contaminated chicken is enough to make someone sick with campylobacteriosis (disease due to Campylobacter bacteria).

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services whose mission is to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.

Clinical practice guidelines

Systematically developed statements that assist practitioners and patients with decision making about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances.

Clinical research

Investigations aimed at translating basic, fundamental science into medical practice.

Clinical trials

As used in this report, research with human volunteers to establish the safety and efficacy of a drug, such as an antibiotic or a vaccine.


One qualified or engaged in the clinical practice of medicine, psychiatry, or psychology, as distinguished from one specializing in laboratory or research techniques in the same fields.


Related to the skin.

DHHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

The U.S. government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves (

DoD (U.S. Department of Defense)

DoD trains and equips the armed forces through three military departments—the Army, Navy, and Air Force—whose primary job is to train and equip their personnel to perform war fighting, peace keeping, and humanitarian/disaster assistance tasks.

Emerging infections

Any infectious disease that has come to medical attention within the last two decades or for which there is a threat that its prevalence will increase in the near future. Many times, such diseases exist in nature as zoonoses and emerge as human pathogens only when humans come into contact with a formerly isolated animal population, such as monkeys in a rain forest that are no longer isolated because of deforestation. Drug-resistant organisms could also be included as the cause of emerging infections since they exist because of human influence. Some recent examples of agents responsible for emerging infections include human immunodeficiency virus, Ebola virus, and multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


An acute inflammatory disease of the brain due to direct viral invasion or to hypersensitivity initiated by a virus or other foreign protein.


Disease that is present in a community or common among a group of people; said of a disease continually prevailing in a region.


A disease of low morbidity that is constantly present in an animal community.


A disease of high morbidity that is only occasionally present in an animal community.

Escherichia coli O157:H7

A dangerous form of Escherichia coli, the colon bacillus, a bacterium that normally lives in the human colon. E. coli O157:H7 is a major health problem, causing hemorrhagic colitis, the hemolytic-uremic syndrome, and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.


Science and study of the causes of diseases and their mode of operation.

FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

A public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services charged with protecting American consumers by enforcing the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and several related health laws.


Any of a group of arboviruses that contain a single strand of RNA, are transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes, and include the causative agents of dengue, Japanese B encephalitis, and yellow fever.


A set of activities designed to determine and monitor the burden of foodborne diseases and improve understanding of the proportion of foodborne diseases attributable to various pathogens. It is an example of population-based surveillance in the emerging infections programs.


List of drugs approved for the treatment of various medical indications. Originally created as a cost control measure, it has been used more recently to guide the use of antibiotics on the basis of information about resistance patterns.

GP (glycoprotein)

A molecule that consists of a carbohydrate plus a protein.


Gram-negative bacteria lose the crystal violet stain (and take the color of the red counterstain) in Gram's method of staining.


Gram-positive bacteria, such as anthrax, retain the color of the crystal violet stain in the Gram stain. This is characteristic of bacteria that have a cell wall composed of a thick layer of a particular substance (called peptidologlycan).


The property that endows a substance with the capacity to provoke an immune response or the degree to which a substance possesses this property.


The frequency of new occurrences of disease within a defined time interval. Incidence rate is the number of new cases of a specified disease divided by the number of people in a population over a specified period of time, usually 1 year.


The invasion of the body or a part of the body by a pathogenic agent, such as a microoganism or virus. Under favorable conditions the agent develops or multiplies, the results of which may produce injurious effects. Infection should not be confused with disease.

Listeria monocytogenes

A bacteria that can cause encephalitis, meningitis, bloodborne infection and death. It is especially hazardous for pregnant women (posing a threat of miscarriage or stillbirth), newborn babies, the elderly, and immune-deficient patients. It causes about 28% of deaths due to food poisoning.


A type of white blood cell that ingests foreign material. Macrophages are key players in the immune response to foreign invaders such as infectious microorganisms.

NCID (National Center for Infectious Diseases)

Its mission is to prevent illness, disability, and death caused by infectious diseases in the United States and around the world. NCID conducts surveillance, epidemic investigations, epidemiological and laboratory research, training, and public education programs to develop, evaluate, and promote prevention and control strategies for infectious diseases.

NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

A division of NIH that provides the major support for scientists conducting research aimed at developing better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent the many infectious, immunological, and allergenic diseases that afflict people worldwide.

NIH (National Institutes of Health)

A public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services whose goal is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability, from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold.


Occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.


A group of extremely small, morphologically similar, ether-resistant DNA viruses; the group includes the osteolytic hamster viruses and adeno-associated viruses.


A self-replicating (autonomous) circle of DNA distinct from the chromosomal genome of bacteria. A plasmid contains genes normally not essential for cell growth or survival. Some plasmids can integrate into the host genome, be artificially constructed in the laboratory, and serve as vectors (carriers) in cloning.


A newly discovered type of disease-causing agent, neither bacterial nor fungal nor viral, and containing no genetic material. A prion is a protein that occurs normally in a harmless form. By folding into an aberrant shape, the normal prion turns into a rogue agent. It then coopts other normal prions to become rogue prions. They have been held responsible for a number of degenerative brain diseases, including mad cow disease, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, and possibly some cases of Alzheimer's disease.

Prophylactic antibiotics

Antibiotics that are administered before evidence of infection with the intention of warding off disease.


A national network of public health laboratories that perform DNA “fingerprinting” on bacteria that may be foodborne. The network permits rapid comparison of these “fingerprint” patterns through an electronic database at CDC.


Containing, consisting of, or being pus.


A group of bacteria that cause typhoid fever, food poisoning, and enteric fever from contaminated food products.


The kind of microorganism as characterized by serologic typing (testing for recognizable antigens on the surface of the microorganism).


To form spores.

Surveillance systems

Used in this report to refer to data collection and record keeping to track the emergence and spread of disease-causing organisms such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


A genus of sporozoa that are intracellular parasites of many organs and tissues of birds and mammals, including man.

USAMRIID (U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases)

It is the lead medical research laboratory for the U.S. Biological Defense Research Program, which conducts research to develop strategies, products, information, procedures, and training programs for medical defense against biological warfare threats and naturally occurring infectious diseases that require special containment. It is an organization of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC).

USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Founded in 1862, its mission is to enhance the quality of life for the American people by supporting production of agriculture and ensuring a safe, affordable, nutritious, and accessible food supply.

VA (Department of Veterans Affairs)

A cabinet-level department that has the care of veterans as its primary mission and is composed of three administrations: Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefit Administration, and National Cemetery Administration.


A preparation of living, attenuated, or killed bacteria or viruses, fractions thereof, or synthesized or recombinant antigens identical or similar to those found in a disease-causing organism that is administered to raise immunity to a particular microorganism.

VHF (viral hemorrhagic fevers)

A group of illnesses caused by viruses of four distinct families: arenaviruses, filoviruses, bunyaviruses, and flaviviruses.


The ability of any infectious agent to produce disease. The virulence of a microoganism (such as a bacterium or virus) is a measure of the severity of the disease it is capable of causing.


Derived from, originating in, or being a member of another species.

Zoonotic disease or infection

An infection or infectious disease that may be transmitted from vertebrate animals (e.g., a rodent) to humans.



Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


bovine spongiform encephalopathy


Food Safety and Inspection Service


Health Care Financing Administration


Laboratory Response Network


National Animal Health Monitoring System


National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System


National Laboratory System


National Poultry Improvement Plan


National Veterinary Services Laboratory


polymerase chain reaction


Public Health Laboratory Service


transmissible spongiform Encephalopathy


veterinary diagnostic laboratory


Venezuelan equine encephalitis


Veterans Health Administration


Veterinary Services

Copyright © 2002, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK98096


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