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Drug resistance threatens Asia's health and economy

A lab technician checks a blood sample during an intensive malaria screening effort, part of the World Health Organization's Artemisinin-Resistance Containment Project along the Thai-Cambodian border.   © Getty Images

New and unexpected health threats have emerged in Asia that could weigh on the world's fastest growing and most dynamic region. Diseases associated with obesity and smoking are rising, and will cause tens of millions of deaths from heart and lung disease and cancer in coming decades. But alongside these lifestyle-associated conditions, the old foe of infectious disease is reemerging and threatens to cause an even greater health and economic disaster.

There remains, of course, the very dangerous problem of epidemics -- or worse, pandemics -- of "emerging infectious diseases," such as the Ebola and Zika viruses. These are already high on the list of major risks noted by the World Health Organization and most governments.

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