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4 Chinese Journal of International Law 325 (2005)


In May 2005, the World Health Organization adopted the new International Health Regulations (IHR), which constitute one of the most radical and far-reaching changes to international law on public health since the beginning of international health cooperation in the mid-nineteenth century. This article comprehensively analyses the new IHR by examining the history of international law on infectious disease control, the IHR revision process, the substantive changes contained in the new IHR and concerns regarding the future of the new IHR. The article demonstrates why the new IHR constitute a seminal event in the relationship between international law and public health and send messages about how human societies should govern their vulnerabilities to serious, acute disease events in the twenty-first century.