The growing complexity of emerging infections, novel pathogens, and outbreaks is part of the impetus behind closer ties being forged across disciplines.
Examples are the Rift Valley fever outbreak in 2000, the anthrax events of 2001, norovirus outbreaks in 2002, SARS in 2003, Marburg virus in 2004, the ongoing influenza H5N1 epizootic with pandemic potential, and the influenza H1N1 pandemic in 2009. Approximately 60% of emerging and reemerging pathogens, which also include hantavirus, Yersinia pestis, and West Nile virus, are zoonotic, with clear links leading to human cases from wild, domestic, or companion animals, or insect vectors.
The 2003 report "Microbial Threats to Health: Emergence, Detection, and Response," from a committee of the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., states that many infectious diseases emerge following the convergence of four complex critical elements: physical and environmental factors; ecological factors; social, political, and economic factors; and genetic and biological factors.
Experts in human, animal, and environmental health provide the basis for the discipline called infectious disease ecology. As we begin to train people to work within this integrated new discipline, we cannot forget that clinical microbiologists focus primarily on one species of animal-humans-while our veterinary colleagues work with many of the rest. Importantly, we all benefit when the skills and knowledge of both groups are brought together.
The complex interdisciplinary interactions are required to solve highly prevalent complex problems . Such requirement suggest the academy should take into account this reality implementing new interdisciplinary formative approaches in the professionals of the future.