Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases: The Third Epidemiologic Transition

Ronald Barrett*, Christopher W. Kuzawa, Thomas McDade, George J. Armelagos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


We use an expanded framework of multiple epidemiologic transitions to review the issues of re/emerging infection. The first epidemiologic transition was associated with a rise in infectious diseases that accompanied the Neolithic Revolution. The second epidemiologic transition involved the shift from infectious to chronic disease mortality associated with industrialization. The recent resurgence of infectious disease mortality marks a third epidemiologic transition characterized by newly emerging, re-emerging, and antibiotic resistant pathogens in the context of an accelerated globalization of human disease ecologies. These transitions illustrate recurring sociohistorical and ecological themes in human-disease relationships from the Paleolithic Age to the present day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-271
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
StatePublished - 1998


  • Health transition
  • History of disease
  • Medical anthropology
  • Paleopathology
  • Political ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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