The Forever War Against Infectious Disease

By David Lakey, MD

Late last month, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, doing an enormous amount of damage to communities throughout the region. The University of Texas System, like the rest of Texas, has been deeply impacted by the storm. We have also, like so many of our fellow Texans, been involved in the extraordinary, ongoing effort to save lives, help people in need, and rebuild. In next month's issue of Texas Health Journal, we will explore some of the many ways that UT people and institutions have dealt with Harvey and its aftermath. 

This month, we are looking at how UT institutions and researchers encounter the challenges of infectious disease, a topic that intersects in profound ways with many of the issues relevant to Harvey: weather, geography, shifts in climate, training of first responders, public health policy, and patterns of settlement and population distribution.

Infectious diseases, like extreme weather events, are reminders that we live in a complex, always evolving relationship with the natural world, and that protecting ourselves from its dangers demands both respect for what we can't control and ingenuity in advancing the possibilities of what we can. Our institutions and people are working on both fronts to keep us, and each other, as safe as possible in an often perilous world.