Emerging Infectious Disease Statistics & Trends [2023 Report]

Written By: Jamie Steiner
infectious disease

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the significance of disease research, preparation, prevention and reporting front and center — though infectious diseases have been around for hundreds of years. In fact, the first coronavirus was identified in the 1960s but the Cleveland Clinic estimates that they have been around for centuries.

But much has changed — and will continue to change — including the latest medical advances and methodologies surrounding emerging infectious diseases. Hospitals, organizations, programs and departments around the world are now wholly devoted to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research of infectious diseases.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted the 11th International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, held every two-to-three years, and the Gates Foundation pledged $912 million to the Global Fund to help fight malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.

As we know, there are many essential components to emerging infectious disease research — skilled doctors and epidemiologists, researchers, scientists, grants and funding, proper scientific equipment, new technologies and more. We’ve compiled a variety of important emerging disease statistics and trends for your convenience.

Note: The information in this report is updated annually to reflect the latest statistics and trends.

Types of Infectious Diseases [+ Examples]

Let’s first review the difference between “infectious disease” and “emerging infectious disease.”

  • Infectious diseases “are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites.”
  • Emerging infectious diseases/pathogens have “newly appeared in a population or have existed but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range.” They may also be caused by one of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Category A, B, or C pathogens.

Infectious diseases are caused by harmful organisms that enter your body. Here are some common examples detailed by the Cleveland Clinic:

  • Infectious diseases caused by viruses — common cold, the flu (influenza), COVID-19, stomach flu, hepatitis and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Infectious diseases caused by bacteria — strep throat, salmonella, tuberculosis, whooping cough, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), urinary tract infections (UTIs) and E. coli
  • Infectious diseases caused by fungi — ringworm, vaginal yeast infection, thrush
  • Infectious diseases caused by parasites — hookworms, pinworms, giardiasis, toxoplasmosis

The Most Common Infectious Diseases

The University of Rochester Medical Center and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases list the following common infectious diseases:

Chickenpox Chronic fatigue syndrome Common cold
Coronaviruses Dengue Diphtheria
Ebola Flu (influenza) Hepatitis
Hib disease HIV/AIDS HPV
Japanese encephalitis Measles Meningococcal disease
Monkeypox Mumps Norovirus
Pneumococcal disease Polio Rabies
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) Rocky Mountain spotted fever Rubella (German measles)
Salmonella infections Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Shingles Tetanus Toxic Shock Syndrome
West Nile Virus Whooping cough Zika

This is not comprehensive; the list of confirmed diseases is quite long. The San Francisco Department of Health features an Infectious Disease A to Z resource that details additional types, including lesser-known diseases such as psittacosis, ciguatera fish poisoning and listeriosis.

The Most Common Emerging Infectious Diseases

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, common emerging infectious diseases include:

  • HIV infections
  • SARS
  • Lyme disease
  • E. coli
  • Hantavirus
  • Dengue fever
  • West Nile virus
  • Zika virus

Diseases may reemerge “because of a breakdown in public health measures for diseases that were once under control. They can also happen when new strains of known disease-causing organisms appear.”

How we behave can also affect whether diseases reemerge. For example, “overuse of antibiotics has led to disease-causing organisms that are resistant to medicines. It has allowed a return of diseases that once were treatable and controllable.”

Emerging Infectious Disease Statistics


  • The National Institute of Health (NIH) was founded in 1887.
  • The flu pandemic from 1918 to 1920 caused more than 550,000 deaths in the United States and more than 20 million deaths around the world.
  • The CDC opened on July 1, 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center with a primary mission of preventing malaria from spreading across the United States.
  • The National Microbiological Institute was created in 1948 and merged with the Rocky Mountain Laboratory, the Biologics Control Laboratory (both of which dated back to 1902) and the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Division of Tropical Diseases of NIH. The organization became the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1955.
  • Monkeypox was discovered in 1958. This outbreak affected monkeys that were kept for research. The first case of a human contracting the virus was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • In 1980, the World Health Organization announced that smallpox was eliminated due to vaccinations.
  • The National Museum of American History features a display and timeline detailing the United States’s 200+ year history in researching, treating and preventing infectious disease.
  • The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research announced the creation of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch (EIDB) in 2018 “with the explicit mission to survey, anticipate and counter the mounting threat of emerging infectious diseases of key importance to U.S. forces in the homeland and abroad.”
  • COVID-19 deaths have reached 5.5 million — and the number is still growing.

Cost and Economic Impact

    • The global infectious disease diagnostics industry is booming and expected to reach a staggering $37.9 billion by 2028.
    • The International Monetary Fund expects COVID-19 will cost the global economy $12.5 trillion through the year 2024.

Trends and Outbreaks

  • The CDC manages an “outbreaks” section on the homepage of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID). All-time top outbreaks are: U.S. monkeypox outbreak, salmonella from backyard poultry and salmonella from buying pet turtles.
  • The CDC Current Outbreak List for the United States includes: E. coli from an unknown food source, Salmonella infections from buying pet turtles, Listeria infections from recalled ice cream, Salmonella outbreaks linked to backyard poultry (chickens and ducks) and a number of children with acute hepatitis (the cause is unknown.)
  • Current international outbreaks include monkeypox, COVID-19 and Ebola.
  • A zoonotic disease is caused by germs spread between people and animals.
  • Some types of infectious diseases affect the entire body, such as malaria, measles and HIV. Others just infect one system (or organ), such as tuberculosis, which affects the respiratory tract.
  • “Deaths from the infectious diseases HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have fallen significantly in recent years, and they no longer appear on the list of top ten causes of death globally. However, these diseases are still a leading cause of death in low-income countries. Malaria is another infectious disease that is a top cause of death in low-income countries. These three diseases are due to single infectious agents.” [Baylor College of Medicine]
  • The top 10 leading causes of death in low-income countries are:
    • 1. Neonatal conditions
    • 2. Lower respiratory infections
    • 3. Heart disease
    • 4. Stroke
    • 5. Diarrheal diseases
    • 6. Malaria
    • 7. Road injury
    • 8. Tuberculosis
    • 9. HIV/AIDS
    • 10. Cirrhosis of the liver

By the Numbers

Infectious Disease Resources

This report was brought to you by D.A.I. Scientific, a one-source laboratory equipment provider that delivers high-quality products and services to the pharmaceutical, educational, biotechnology and clinical industries.

Regional Sales Manager, DAI Scientific

Jamie is the regional sales manager of DAI Scientific and leads a team of 13 equipment sales consultants. His background includes 20 years of experience working with customers in academic, clinical, industrial and bio/pharma laboratories.

Jamie works with architects, engineers and lab planners to identify the correct equipment for each user’s specific needs. He also leverages his previous role as a DAI sales representative to help his sales consultants work with customers to ensure informed decisions and customer satisfaction. He stays involved in recent research by continuously attending seminars and educating himself on the products and industries he serves.

Jamie holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.