The Group of Eight (G8) leaders here Sunday set a series of guidelines for combating infectious diseases worldwide by adopting a document on the issue.
"A vigorous response to the threat of infectious diseases, the leading cause of death worldwide, is essential to global development and to the well-being of the world's population," the leaders said in a statement.
They noted in particular that the recent emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza "demands our immediate attention."
Russia, which is chairing the G8 presidency for the first time, has chosen to fight infectious diseases as one of the key topics at the summit, along with education and energy security.
The G8 gathers Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US.