Title

In search of a germ theory equivalent for chronic disease

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Egger, G 2012, 'In search of a germ theory equivalent for chronic disease', Preventing Chronic Disease, vol. 9, e95.

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The fight against infectious disease advanced dramatically with the consolidation of the germ theory in the 19th century. This focus on a predominant cause of infections (ie, microbial pathogens) ultimately led to medical and public health advances (eg, immunization, pasteurization, antibiotics). However, the resulting declines in infections in the 20th century were matched by a rise in chronic, noncommunicable diseases, for which there is no single underlying etiology. The discovery of a form of low-grade systemic and chronic inflammation (“metaflammation”), linked to inducers (broadly termed “anthropogens”) associated with modern man-made environments and lifestyles, suggests an underlying basis for chronic disease that could provide a 21st-century equivalent of the germ theory.