Communicable diseases continue to be among the most serious public health problems in the Western Pacific Region. The challenges arise from ancient diseases such as malaria, measles and leprosy to more recent infections, including HIV, and re-emerging diseases such as dengue. Communicable diseases not only cause illness and death, but also can disrupt the socioeconomic progress of nations.
The Western Pacific Region bears a significant proportion of the global burden of many communicable diseases, including cholera, hepatitis B and tuberculosis. Some regional problems, such as resistance to the antimalarial drug artemisinin and the burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, also pose significant global threats.