Emerging Pandemic Threats Program
Nearly 75 percent of all new, emerging, or reemerging diseases affecting humans at the beginning of the 21st century have originated in animals. Examples include HIV/AIDS, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H5N1 avian influenza, and the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. Recognizing this, USAID has launched an Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program that seeks to aggressively preempt or combat diseases that could spark future pandemics.
The speed with which these diseases can emerge and spread presents serious public health, economic, and development concerns. It also underscores the need for the development of comprehensive disease detection and response capacities, particularly in those geographic areas where disease threats are likely to emerge. The EPT program will begin by working in "hot spots" in the Congo Basin of East and Central Africa and in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia. The EPT program will begin working in Vietnam in 2010 and consists of four projects known as PREDICT, RESPOND, IDENTIFY, and PREVENT.
Through PREDICT, USAID and partners monitor for, and increase local capacities in, geographic "hot spots" to identify the emergence of new infectious diseases in high-risk wildlife, such as bats, rodents, and non-human primates, which could pose a major threat to human health.
The RESPOND project will improve infectious disease outbreak response capacity across human, animal and wildlife sectors. This work involves university twinning and mentoring programs, development and delivery of One-Health consistent curricula, support for multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral networking, development of One Health Alliances, and outbreak response systems strengthening.
The IDENTIFY project represents a USAID partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The project aims to help develop laboratory networks and strengthen diagnostic capacities in geographic "hot spots" for common animal and human pathogens.
The PREVENT project identifies and addresses behaviors and practices that increase the potential for new disease threats of animal origin to spread. PREVENT activities include the formulation of strategies for effective behavior change and communication approaches that address the challenges posed by emerging pandemic disease threats.
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