This article examines lessons learned from the recent Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome crisis in East and Southeast Asia, arguing that the wide-ranging impact of infectious diseases makes it imperative for states to treat these diseases as security concerns. “Securitizing” infectious diseases provides urgency for mobilizing resources and strengthening regional cooperation. Adding infectious diseases to the security agenda allows for better handling of sudden outbreaks that endanger lives and threaten the survival of nation-states; this is also in line with the region's concept of comprehensive security.

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