There have been major advances during the past century in research into and treatment of infectious disease. However, assumptions that most infectious disease had been conquered are now seen to have been misplaced, and European populations remain vulnerable. In addition to resurgent infections such as tuberculosis (TB) and the growing threat inherent in antimicrobial drug resistance, there are newly emerging microbes, especially those transmitted from animals (zoonoses) and new variants of influenza virus. The public health burden imposed by communicable diseases is exacerbated by the increasing mobility of humans, animals, vectors and pathogens, and by other effects of environmental change and globalisation.