WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Global Health is pleased to announce a partnership with UC Davis to monitor for and increase the local capacity in "geographic hot spots" to identify the emergence of new infectious diseases in high-risk wildlife such as bats, rodents, and non-human primates that could pose a major threat to human health. UC Davis leads a coalition of leading experts in wildlife surveillance including the Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlife Trust, the Smithsonian Institute, and Global Viral Forecasting, Inc. This is a five-year cooperative agreement with a ceiling of $75 million.
This project, named PREDICT, is part of the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program -- a specialized set of projects that build on the successes of the Agency's 30 years of work in disease surveillance, training and outbreak response. PREDICT will focus on expanding USAID's current monitoring of wild birds for H5N1 influenza to more broadly address the role played by wildlife in the spreading of new disease threats.
PREDICT will be active in global hot spots where important wildlife host species have significant interaction with domestic animals and high-density human populations. In these regions, the team will focus on detecting disease-causing organisms in wildlife before they lead to human infection or death. Among the 1,461 pathogens recognized to cause diseases in humans, at least 60 percent are of animal origin. Predicting where these new diseases may emerge and detecting viruses and other pathogens before they spread to people hold the greatest potential to prevent new pandemics.
PREDICT will be led by Dr. Stephen S. Morse of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, a leading emerging disease authority. Other key staff include Dr. Jonna Mazet, the project's Deputy Director; Dr. William Karesh, Senior Technical Advisor; Dr. Peter Daszak, Technical Expert; and Dr. Nathan Wolfe, Technical Expert.
For more information about USAID and its Avian and Pandemic Influenza Unit, please visit www.usaid.gov.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.
Public Information: 202-712-4810
SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development