Recognizing the threat to animal and human health, the federal government has launched a multimillion-dollar initiative in the hopes of preventing the next global pandemic.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has announced the start of its Emerging Pandemic Threats program, a five-pronged approach to preparing the world for emerging infectious diseases. It builds on the agency's long-standing programs in disease surveillance, training, and outbreak response.

"While no one can predict with certainty where the next pandemic disease will emerge, being ready for early detection and rapid response will minimize its potential impact on our social and economic well-being," said Murray Trostle, deputy director of USAID's Avian and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Unit.

The focus of the EPT program is to pre-empt or combat, at their source, newly emerging diseases of animal origin that could threaten human health. The five projects in the EPT program are prediction, response, identification, prevention and preparation.

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Source: AVMA