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In spite of the very significant advances made during the 20 th century in the prevention and the treatment of communicable diseases, infections are still today, even in developed countries, a major cause of morbidity and mortality. New infectious diseases have emerged (AIDS, legionellosis, exterotoxigenic E. coli, Ebola fever), others have significantly reemerged (tuberculosis, diphtheria, Bartonella infections) or have seen their geographic distribution widen considerably (dengue, Hantavirus, West Nile Virus,
Lyme disease). New and widespread hepatotropic viruses (mainly hepatitis C) have been identified, while the bacterial cause (Helicobacter pylori) of gastric ulcer was demonstrated. The second part of this review will deal with other examples of emerging or reemerging infections and with the problem of the increasing resistance of pathogens to antimicrobial agents. It will analyse the multiple causes of these various phenomena and describe the diverse strategies which should become available for the prevention and/or treatment of these numerous infectious diseases.