Infectious disease management and practice are important because diseases that spread directly or indirectly from infected persons to others or from animals to humans result in excess illness and premature deaths.1 Here, I describe selected articles from the infectious disease collection published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (JPHMP) during the past 25 years2 and mention topics possibly important to future audiences.
In JPHMP's first infectious disease article in 1995, Auerbach and McGuire3 described the benefits of government-sponsored HIV service programs and warned that financing the expansion of universal health care insurance by cutting existing service programs would result in a loss of benefits for persons living with HIV infection. In 2 articles in 1998, Hinman detailed procedures for evaluating interventions for preventing and controlling infectious diseases.2 In 2001, Malloy and Marr charted the evolution of the communicable diseases control manual throughout 1917-2000.2 In 2003, Morse described the building of an academic-practice partnership in public health preparedness at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health before and after 9/11 and the weaponized anthrax attacks that same year.2
In 2005, Silk and Berkelman advocated for active surveillance, automated laboratory reporting, stronger ties with clinicians and others, and increased resource deployment for public health preparedness as methods for enhancing reporting completeness in the national notifiable diseases surveillance system.2 In 2006, Janssen et al confirmed primary sources of information, levels of awareness, and most effective media messages in promoting responses to an expected pandemic of avian influenza A (H5N1).2 In 2009, Rosenfeld et al developed computer models for guiding states' emergency preparedness and response to pandemic influenza, including containment strategies, evacuation, sheltering, quarantine, and distribution of medications and supplies.2 In 2010, Lee et al used computer models of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, to demonstrate that school closures for 8 weeks or more can delay an influenza epidemic peak for 1 week or less, allowing time to implement more effective interventions.2
In 2014, Drobnik et al reported the value of regularly comparing case reports from surveillance systems for HIV infection, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted disease, and tuberculosis (TB) for identifying persons with coinfections, indicating syndemics in New York City.2 Jarris et al warned that the US arrival of asylum-seeking children from Central America, mosquito-borne chikungunya virus infection from the Caribbean, and the threat of Ebola virus disease (EVD) spreading beyond West Africa highlighted global connectedness that demands perpetual US emergency response readiness.2
In 2015, Adekoya et al assessed reporting completeness of racial and ethnic attributes of case reports for 32 conditions in the US National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System; because they identified constant 70% completeness for race and increasing completeness for ethnicity from 48% in 2006 to 53% in 2010, the authors urged greater reporting completeness in support of the US Healthy People initiative to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities by 2020.2 In 2016, Coronado et al reported that 152 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service officers based in state and local health departments coauthored 199 articles published in 74 peer-reviewed journals during 2009-2014; the articles (75% on infectious diseases), which were cited 2415 times in other works, contributed directly to new scientific knowledge and population health in those places.2
In 2017, Gubbins et al determined that community-based pharmacists can collaborate effectively with clinicians and health departments to diagnose, treat, and report infections with influenza, HIV, group A streptococci, and other microorganisms to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, deliver effective medical care, and improve community health.2 Chung et al revealed that health departments deployed their CDC-funded “flexible epidemiologists” to investigate and control outbreaks of priority infectious disease (mainly enteric diseases), maintain and upgrade surveillance systems, and coordinate collaboration with partners.2 Rutkow et al enumerated the following facilitators and obstacles to local health department workers' deployment during responses to outbreaks of seasonal H1N1 influenza, TB, EVD, and Zika virus disease: availability of vaccines and personal protective equipment, flexible work schedules and childcare arrangements, training courses, and perceived commitments to one's job and community. Obstacles included fear of exposing oneself or family to infection; concerns about care of children, older persons, and pets; and negative perceptions about one's role during an infectious disease response.2
In 2018, Hershey et al compared 2 recent court cases with different decisions when public health officials asked courts to enforce isolation or quarantine orders to control TB and EVD.2 Sell et al interviewed participants in EVD planning or response in Atlanta, Dallas, New York City, and Omaha in 2016; the investigators developed a checklist of specific actions public health authorities can take to strengthen responders' resilience to stress during responses to high-consequence infectious disease events (eg, a potential or actual EVD outbreak).2 Swaan et al evaluated time from first date of illness with suspected EVD (N = 13; none confirmed) to date of arrival in a referral academic hospital in the Netherlands during the 2014-2015 West Africa outbreaks; they concluded that better coordination between public health and curative medical sectors is needed to reduce delays in effective patient care.2 Katz et al identified variation across states in requirements of quarantine laws and regulations such that 63% of states require a court hearing, 71% allow survivors to have a voice in burial and cremation procedures, 20% protect employment when a person is under quarantine, less than 50% have plans to ensure safe and humane quarantine, and 100% are weak in protecting all other personal rights.2
During the next 25 years, JPHMP will continue its preference for infectious disease articles that focus on practical applications in prevention and control where social conditions beyond the control of individuals and families (eg, poverty, social stigma, discrimination, and social isolation) require governmental, private, and philanthropic programs with US national, state, and local scope for improving community health status. Essential topics for building on past accomplishments and addressing existing challenges include efforts to eliminate low-incidence infectious diseases, investigating and controlling outbreaks of new or reemergent infectious diseases, preventing infections among immunocompromised persons, reducing antimicrobial resistance, developing new and improved antimicrobials, improving diagnostic tests, and enhancing the protective effects of the human microbiome.4