As the world becomes more global and focused on technology, public health needs change. In the past, various issues impacting public health have been addressed with scientific research and unique solutions. Today, there are new potential threats emerging that could affect the global population’s ability to thrive and be healthy. Public health officials and world leaders are working to squash these threats or keep them from exploding and becoming epidemic. Here are six of the most prevalent public health threats impacting the world’s future.

1. Infectious Diseases

The biggest potential problem to public health is the risk of infectious disease. There are many diseases that have the potential to cause a worldwide outbreak and sicken or kill millions. One of the fears of infectious diseases of today is how easy illness could be spread due to improved global transportation. This means when a problem happens, such as the Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2015, public health officials have to work fast to contain the disease. Since the spread of infection is so easy, when a threat is detected, officials at the borders need to take action.

2. Bioterrorism

Another potential issue that could impact the public’s health is bioterrorism. Terrorist attacks have plagued cities around the world throughout the 20th and 21st century. Thousands of people have been killed or injured in attacks with guns, bombs, planes, and motor vehicles. Public health officials worry that the newest type of attack coming could be terrorists releasing deadly poisons into the air or spreading a dangerous infectious disease.

3. Antibiotic Resistance

Public health officials are also concerned about the potential issues related to antibiotic resistance. The overuse of antibiotics throughout the food and drug industry has created a problem in the biology of infections. Infectious diseases and viruses are evolving because they’ve learned the secrets of the most common antibiotics used throughout the world. This leads to stronger and more resistant deadly infections that aren’t able to be stopped by antibiotics. Medical professionals hope to change the way antibiotics are used to help combat this problem.

4. Opioid Abuse

The increase in the use of prescription pain medication throughout the world has created another problem impacting public health, opioid abuse. There are many cases of patients recovering from serious surgeries or suffering from immense pain becoming addicted to their pain medication. Professionals in the medical industry and students working towards an online mph degree from the University of Arizona analyze this problem and look to develop new ways to treat pain.

5. Foodborne Illnesses

The risk of foodborne illness is another key issue worrying public health officials. Science and technology have made factory farming more commonplace throughout the world. While this process is great for pushing out mass quantities of food products, it can make it much easier to spread contaminated ingredients that get into the pipeline. There have been several cases of bacteria outbreaks from food processors that aren’t discovered until people have gotten sick or died.

6. Distracted Driving

The last big issue that needs to be solved in the public health arena is distracted driving. Up until a few years ago, the national data for automobile accidents and pedestrian safety looked promising. Now that smartphones and texting are so popular, car crash statistics have started rising again. More drivers are allowing themselves to be distracted and getting into dangerous accidents that lead to serious injury or death. In the future, it’s going to be necessary to stop this behavior to help save lives.

Public health professionals and government officials are working together to combat these serious threats. Expect to see more solutions to these emerging problems to help keep the population protected from these potentially disastrous situations.