A new crisis-management center to enhance worldwide response to animal disease is part of an effort between USDA and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The center opened this summer at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.

The crisis-management center will provide animal-disease analysis and information, and deploy international resources to prevent and contain dangerous animal diseases. The current focus will be on highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza.

The United States provided $1.8 million to FAO to create the center. Other contributors include France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The FAO operations are targeted to:

  • Strengthen disease intelligence and emergency preparedness;
  • Examine migratory birds’ role in disease spread;
  • Create broader awareness and risk communication;
  • Analyze social and economic consequences of disease and its control;
  • Strengthen field surveillance, laboratory capabilities, global avian influenza surveillance and early warning capabilities;
  • Advise governments and build capacities for disease surveillance and control.

You can find more information at www.fao.org/ag/againfo/subjects/en/health/diseasescards/special_avian.html.

For information about FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division, go to http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/home/en/home.html.