The following is a guest post on ScienceSpeaks by Judith Wasserheit, M.D., M.P.H. FIDSA, and Krutika Kuppalli, M.D.

With the dawn of a new decade, the world is confronted with a new infectious disease challenge, in the spread of a novel coronavirus that has rapidly infected more than 24,000 people in 25 countries and resulted in more than 490 deaths. The 2019 novel coronavirus — 2019-nCoV — epidemic, however, is just the latest manifestation of a threat we have seen unfold with increasing frequency and severity over the last 40 years, with the emergence of HIV, drug-resistant tuberculosis, SARS, H1N1 influenza, MERS-CoV, Nipah, Ebola, and Zika.

The emergence of these diseases has brought profound human, social and economic consequences here in the U.S. and around the world. Yet, nearly 20 years after the SARS outbreak revealed how under-prepared the world is to effectively respond to outbreaks of high consequence pathogens, the World Health Organization estimates 70% of countries remain unprepared to meet the threat today.

Read the entire story at ScienceSpeaks. Judy Wasserheit is the Chair of the Department of Global Health.