WHO Top Threats to Global Health - Special Article Collection

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 10 global health threats to track that countries around the world need to address. Below we have curated several expert reviews as well as our broader collections of recent research covering related topics.

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Last updated 09/2022

Climate Change, Pollution, and Public Health

The WHO estimates that 90% of people in the world inhale polluted air daily, causing 7 million premature deaths yearly.

Global Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases

Nicole Nova, Tejas S. Athni, Marissa L. Childs, Lisa Mandle, and Erin A. Mordecai, Annual Review of Resource Economics

Global Change and Human Susceptibility to Disease

Gretchen C. Daily and Paul R. Ehrlich, Annual Review of Environment and Resources

Heat, Human Performance, and Occupational Health: A Key Issue for the Assessment of Global Climate Change Impacts

Tord Kjellstrom, David Briggs, Chris Freyberg, Bruno Lemke, Matthias Otto, and Olivia Hyatt, Annual Review of Public Health

Energy and Human Health

Kirk R. Smith, Howard Frumkin, Kalpana Balakrishnan, Colin D. Butler, Zoë A. Chafe, Ian Fairlie, Patrick Kinney, Tord Kjellstrom, Denise L. Mauzerall, Thomas E. McKone, Anthony J. McMichael, and Mycle Schneider, Annual Review of Public Health

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Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases

70% of deaths worldwide can be traced to noncommunicable diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. 15 million people are dying prematurely as a result – and over 85% are in low- and middle-income countries.

Expanding Implementation Research to Prevent Chronic Diseases in Community Settings

Stephanie Mazzucca, Elva M. Arredondo, Deanna M. Hoelscher, Debra Haire-Joshu, Rachel G. Tabak, Shiriki K. Kumanyika, and Ross C. Brownson, Annual Review of Public Health

Countermarketing Alcohol and Unhealthy Food: An Effective Strategy for Preventing Noncommunicable Diseases? Lessons from Tobacco

P. Christopher Palmedo, Lori Dorfman, Sarah Garza, Eleni Murphy, and Nicholas Freudenberg, Annual Review of Public Health

Global Environmental Change and Noncommunicable Disease Risks

Howard Frumkin and Andy Haines, Annual Review of Public Health

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Preventing Global Pandemics

Pandemics and large-scale outbreaks have claimed millions of lives, disrupted societies and devastated economies. Preparedness is key to the response and management of pandemics, and the WHO works with 153 institutions in 114 countries to monitor and detect potential pandemic strains of influenza and other viruses. What has been learned since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Good Law to Fight Bad Bugs: Legal Responses to Epidemics

Carol A. Heimer and Clay Davis, Annual Review of Law and Social Science

Influenza Virus: Tracking, Predicting, and Forecasting

Sheikh Taslim Ali and Benjamin J. Cowling, Annual Review of Public Health

SARS-CoV-2 Is Not Special, but the Pandemic Is: The Ecology, Evolution, Policy, and Future of the Deadliest Pandemic in Living Memory

Jessica F. Brinkworth and Rachel M. Rusen, Annual Review of Anthropology

Is a Universal Influenza Virus Vaccine Possible?

Raffael Nachbagauer and Peter Palese, Annual Review of Medicine

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Improving Health Equity, Particularly in Vulnerable Settings

One quarter of the global population finds itself in areas of crises, whether due to conflict, drought/famine, or displacement. Limited access to basic care makes these populations more vulnerable to disease and violence.

Social Capital, Black Social Mobility, and Health Disparities

Keon L. Gilbert, Yusuf Ransome, Lorraine T. Dean, Jerell DeCaille, and Ichiro Kawachi, Annual Review of Public Health

Documenting the Effects of Armed Conflict on Population Health

Barry S. Levy and Victor W. Sidel, Annual Review of Public Health

Climate Change and Collective Violence

Barry S. Levy, Victor W. Sidel, and Jonathan A. Patz, Annual Review of Public Health

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Combatting Drug Resistance

Many dangerous bacteria have evolved that are resistant to the drugs that have been developed to fight them, weakening our ability to treat infection and life threatening diseases.

Microbial Interspecies Interactions and Their Impact on the Emergence and Spread of Antimicrobial Resistance

Gitta De Wit, Luka Svet, Bram Lories, and Hans P. Steenackers, Annual Review of Microbiology

Evolutionary Trajectories to Antibiotic Resistance

Diarmaid Hughes and Dan I. Andersson, Annual Review of Microbiology

Molecular Evolution of Antifungal Drug Resistance

Nicole Robbins, Tavia Caplan, and Leah E. Cowen, Annual Review of Microbiology

External Societal Costs of Antimicrobial Resistance in Humans Attributable to Antimicrobial Use in Livestock

Gabriel K. Innes, Pranay R. Randad, Anton Korinek, Meghan F. Davis, Lance B. Price, Anthony D. So, and Christopher D. Heaney, Annual Review of Public Health

Understanding and Monitoring High-Threat Pathogens

The spread of diseases such as CoVID-19, Ebola, Zika, Nipah, Mers-CoV, and SARS can be drastically worsened if outbreak occurs in active conflict zones, or areas with limited health care access.

Airborne Transmissions of SARS-CoV-2: Evidence and Implications for Engineering Controls

V. Faye McNeill, Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Poxviruses and Immune Evasion

Bruce T. Seet, J.B. Johnston, Craig R. Brunnetti, John W. Barrett, Helen Everett, Cheryl Cameron, Joanna Sypula, Steven H. Nazarian, Alexandra Lucas, and Grant McFadden, Annual Review of Immunology

Human Coronavirus: Host-Pathogen Interaction

To Sing Fung and Ding Xiang Liu, Annual Review of Microbiology

Detection of Emerging Zoonotic Pathogens: An Integrated One Health Approach

Brian H. Bird and Jonna A.K. Mazet, Annual Review of Animal Biosciences

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: Emergence of a Pathogenic Human Coronavirus

Anthony R. Fehr, Rudragouda Channappanavar, and Stanley Perlman, Annual Review of Medicine

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Advancing Primary Health Care For All Ages

Health systems with strong primary health care are needed to achieve universal health coverage, but many countries do not have universal access to primary health care, either due to a lack of resources or to an increased focus on single diseases.

Women's Health: Population Patterns and Social Determinants

Susan E. Short and Meghan Zacher, Annual Review of Sociology

Addressing Social Needs in Health Care Settings: Evidence, Challenges, and Opportunities for Public Health

Matthew W. Kreuter, Tess Thompson, Amy McQueen, and Rachel Garg, Annual Review of Public Health

Extreme Weather and Climate Change: Population Health and Health System Implications

Kristie L. Ebi, Jennifer Vanos, Jane W. Baldwin, Jesse E. Bell, David M. Hondula, Nicole A. Errett, Katie Hayes, Colleen E. Reid, Shubhayu Saha, June Spector, and Peter Berry, Annual Review of Public Health

Rural Health Care Access and Policy in Developing Countries

Roger Strasser, Sophia M. Kam, and Sophie M. Regalado, Annual Review of Public Health

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Supporting Vaccine Availability and Combatting Hesitancy

Reluctance or refusal to vaccinate is threatening decades of progress in the global fight against infectious diseases. Vaccines have been developed to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, helping people of all ages live longer, healthier lives. Immunization currently prevents 3.5-5 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza, COVID-19, and measles.

Current Developments and Challenges of mRNA Vaccines

Jinjin Chen, Jianzhu Chen, and Ziaobing Xu, Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering

Vaccine Hesitancy, Acceptance, and Anti-Vaccination: Trends and Future Prospects for Public Health

Ève Dubé, Jeremy K. Ward, Pierre Verger, and Noni E. MacDonald, Annual Review of Public Health

Personal Belief Exemptions From School Vaccination Requirements

Douglas S. Diekema, Annual Review of Public Health

The Resurgence of Measles in the United States, 1989-1990

William L. Atkinson and Walter A. Orenstein, Annual Review of Medicine

Controlling Dengue and Other Mosquito-borne Diseases

Dengue (a dangerous mosquito-borne disease) is spreading to countries that had never seen it before as mosquito season is lengthening due to climate change.

Prospects and Pitfalls: Next-Generation Tools to Control Mosquito-Transmitted Disease

E.P. Caragata, S. Dong, Y. Dong, M.L. Simões, C.V. Tikhe, and G. Dimopoulos, Annual Review of Microbiology

The Global Expansion of Dengue: How Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes Enabled the First Pandemic Arbovirus

Oliver J. Brady and Simon I. Hay, Annual Review of Entomology

Global Spread and Persistence of Dengue

Jennifer L. Kyle and Eva Harris, Annual Review of Microbiology

Tackling Communicable Diseases

WHO and partners have worked tirelessly to end polio, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. Efforts will intensify to end AIDS, TB, and malaria by 2030.

Breaking the Last Chains of Poliovirus Transmission: Progress and Challenges in Global Polio Eradication

Olen Kew and Mark Pallansch, Annual Review of Virology

Long-Acting HIV Drugs for Treatment and Prevention

Roy M. Gulick and Charles Flexner, Annual Review of Medicine

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