The next new disease Emerging infectious diseases are a major threat to health: AIDS, SARS, drug-resistant bacteria and Ebola virus are among the more recent examples. By identifying emerging disease 'hotspots', the thinking goes, it should be possible to spot health risks at an early stage and prepare containment strategies. An analysis of over 300 examples of disease emerging between 1940 and 2004 suggests that these hotspots can be accurately mapped based on socio-economic, environmental and ecological factors. The data show that the surveillance effort, and much current research spending, is concentrated in developed economies, yet the risk maps point to developing countries as the more likely source of new diseases. Supplementary information The online version of this article (doi:10.1038/nature06536) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.