In recent years the outbreak of re-emerging and emerging infectious diseases has been a significant burden on global economies and public health. The growth of population and urbanization along with poor water supply and environmental hygiene are the main reasons for the increase in outbreak of infectious pathogens. Transmission of infectious pathogens to the community has caused outbreaks of diseases such as influenza (A/H5N1), diarrhea (Escherichia coli), cholera (Vibrio cholera), etc throughout the world. The comprehensive treatments of environments containing infectious pathogens using advanced disinfectant nanomaterials have been proposed for prevention of the outbreaks. Among these nanomaterials, silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) with unique properties of high antimicrobial activity have attracted much interest from scientists and technologists to develop nanosilver-based disinfectant products. This article aims to review the synthesis routes and antimicrobial effects of Ag-NPs against various pathogens including bacteria, fungi and virus. Toxicology considerations of Ag-NPs to humans and ecology are discussed in detail. Some current applications of Ag-NPs in water-, air- and surface- disinfection are described. Finally, future prospects of Ag-NPs for treatment and prevention of currently emerging infections are discussed.


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