Epidemiology today: Mitigating threats to an ecosystem

Nancy Kreiger


Ecosystems comprise all the living and non-living things in a particular area (e.g., rain forest, desert), which interact and maintain equilibrium. Loss of equilibrium (e.g., clear-cutting trees in a rain forest) can mean the decline of the ecosystem, unless it is able to adapt to the new circumstances. The term “knowledge ecosystem” describes an approach to managing knowledge in a particular field; the components of this system include the people, the technological skills and resources, and information or data. Epidemiology can be thought of as a knowledge ecosystem and, like ecological systems, its existence can be threatened, from both internal and external forces that may alter its equilibrium. This paper describes some threats to the epidemiology knowledge ecosystem, how these threats came about, and what responses we can make that may serve to mitigate those threats.


Ecosystems; knowledge; epidemiology; risk

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.107.5289