USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program Plays Key Role in Global Conference on Curbing the Risks that Zoonoses -- Diseases that Move between Animals and Humans -- Pose to Public Health

--2013 Prince Mahidol Award Conference Emphasizes "One Health" Approaches and Efforts--

Jan 30, 2013, 13:17 ET from USAID

BANGKOK, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Experts from the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program will share approaches and activities that embody EPT's "One Health" approach to tackling emerging infectious disease threats at this year's Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC). The conference, 31 January to 2 February at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Center, will focus on "A World United Against Disease: Cross-Sectoral Solutions." As a key member of the closing panel, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Ariel Pablos-Mendez, MD, will join other leaders from the public, NGO and private sectors in confirming their commitment to working together at the country, regional and global levels to find and promote successful solutions to combating infectious disease threats.

The One Health approach advocates close cooperation between the human and animal health sectors to blunt the threat that zoonoses may become full-blown pandemics. Two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. USAID is one of the global leaders in identifying and facilitating multidisciplinary collaboration to prevent pandemic threats.

"The Prince Mahidol conference is one of the preeminent gatherings of professionals who set the public health agendas in much of the world," said EPT Executive Director Dennis Carroll. "That makes it the ideal forum to spark important dialogue about turning science and policy discussions into actions that can prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases."

In addition to Dr. Mendez, other EPT-affiliated speakers addressing the conference are:

  • Dennis Carroll, PhD, EPT Program Executive Director;
  • Tracey Goldstein, PhD, University of California at Davis;
  • Stephen Morse, PhD, Columbia University, co-director of EPT's PREDICT Project;
  • W.B. "Billy" Karesh, DVM, Executive Vice President for Health and Policy, EcoHealth Alliance;
  • Jonna Mazet, DVM, PhD, Executive Director, One Health Institute, UC Davis; and
  • Susan Zimicki, PhD, Technical Director, EPT's PREVENT program. 

They will address a variety of zoonoses-related topics, including creating national policies that support the One Health approach; using social media to communicate during outbreaks; the role of human behavior in preventing and amplifying infectious diseases; and the importance of collaboration among those concerned with the health of wildlife, domestic animals and humans.

PMAC is an annual international conference focusing on policy-related health issues of global significance. The conference is hosted by the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, the Thai Ministry of Public Health, Mahidol University and other global partners, including USAID, the Rockefeller Foundation, World Health Organization and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Composed of four complementary projects -- PREDICT, PREVENT, IDENTIFY, and RESPOND -- USAID's emerging pandemic threats global program draws on expertise from across the animal and human health sectors to build regional, national and local One Health capacities for early disease detection, laboratory-based disease diagnosis, rapid response and containment and risk reduction. The EPT program, with technical assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coordinates closely with other U.S. Government agencies, international organizations and donors.