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IOM report released on species-jumping diseases

Submitted by on 10 November, 2020 – 4:32 am
Major deficiencies undermine the capabilities of the world community to prevent, detect early step microbes and respond effectively to threatening species such as virus H1N1 pandemic sweeping the globe, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. The report provides a detailed plan to establish and fund a comprehensive and coordinated worldwide to identify new threats of zoonotic diseases as soon as possible, wherever they arise adequately measures can be taken to prevent a significant number of human deaths and illnesses and losses of livestock.

U.S. Federal Agencies – Particularly the U.S. Agency for International Development – should lead efforts to develop this system and work with international partners to provide funding and technical assistance to strengthen the expertise, equipment and other components of zoonotic disease surveillance and response capacity in countries world, said the committee that wrote the report. Pathogens jumping species have caused more than 65 percent of infectious disease outbreaks in the past six decades, and have accumulated more than $ 200 billion in economic losses worldwide over the past 10 years, the report said. The meat industry in U.S. alone lost 11 billion U.S. dollars in three years after detection of a cow with “mad cow disease” in 2003.

Further integration of the areas of human health and veterinary medicine should be a key feature of this new system due to lack of coordination and communication between these groups results in missed opportunities to detect the movement of species and leads to potential pathogens less effective measures to contain the disease. The report also recommends a fundamental change in the surveillance outside the emergency, time limited reactions to certain diseases when they present a sustained focus on preventing the conditions of zoonotic agents to go out and look for signs of possible threats on a continual basis.

USAID also should lead an effort to identify sustainable funding sources to develop and maintain the new system. Funding for monitoring traditionally has focused on individual diseases with disproportionate resources to infections in humans compared with animals. Moreover, the development aid budgets tend to fluctuate with changes in direction or priorities. The effort to find sustainable funding to address specifically a tax on international trade in meat and meat products as a possible mechanism, although the pros and cons of all options should be weighed to determine the sources of financing that works best, the report said.

The U.S. government and other donor organizations should offer financial incentives and technical and medical assistance to encourage the reporting of outbreaks and reduce social and economic consequences. Implications as the fall in trade and tourism and the sacrifice necessary to livestock can lead individuals and nations to conceal outbreaks.

The report also requests the director general of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to have the power to declare animal health emergencies and to make credible public information it receives about outbreaks of animal diseases if national governments fail to provide information in a timely manner. Increased transparency could improve control of animal diseases before they decimate livestock or wildlife or make large numbers of sick people.

“Developing an effective global system to detect and respond to emerging zoonotic diseases is a difficult task,” said committee co-chairman Gerald T. Keusch, assistant provost for global health and associate dean for global health, the School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston. “However, given the political will and financial resources that have time and again calculated to meet the person” disease du jour “, as everyone has been raised, we believe it is possible to implement a sustainable, integrated human veterinary surveillance system of diseases that is acceptable to all stakeholders. And we must do now. ”

“Zoonotic diseases are like forest fires that break out unexpectedly and can charge a significant price in human and animal health and damage household livelihoods and national economies,” said Marguerite Pappaioanou co-chairman, director Association executive of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Washington, DC “Too often, our response to these outbreaks has been to containing a wildfire after it has gotten out of control. We need a system that allows us to avoid conditions outbreaks of disease occurring in the first place and to detect them before, when we can take more effective measures and steps to limit the damage. ”

Many obstacles have hindered the development of greater collaboration and robust system of disease surveillance, says the report, including the low priority given to health issues by political leaders in some countries, lack of adequate funding and coordinated management and lack of cooperation and integration among experts in human and animal health.

USAID and other international agencies need to establish an entity to coordinate the detection of zoonotic diseases nations and response efforts. The United Nations “strategy name a flu coordinator of the United Nations system to collaborate with various persons, groups and countries involved in avian influenza outbreak of 2003 could serve as a model, says the report.

Source: National Academy of Sciences (web)

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