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Briefing Date:09/22/2009
Topic:Sustaining Global Surveillance and Response to Emerging Zoonotic Diseases

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Institute of Medicine and National Research Council
Board on Global Health and Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources
Committee on Achieving Sustainable Global Capacity for Surveillance and Response to
Emerging Diseases of Zoonotic Origin

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Congressional Briefing
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
441 Cannon House Office Bldg. – 2:00 p.m.

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on

Sustaining Global Surveillance and Response to Emerging Zoonotic Diseases

by

Dr. Gerald T. Keusch, Associate Director, National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories and Special Assistant to the President for Global Health, School of Public Health, Boston University and Co-Chair, Committee on Achieving Sustainable Global Capacity for Surveillance and Response to Emerging Diseases of Zoonotic Origin, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, The National Academies

Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, Executive Director, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Washington, D.C. and Co-Chair, Committee on Achieving Sustainable Global Capacity for Surveillance and Response to Emerging Diseases of Zoonotic Origin, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, The National Academies

Emerging zoonoses are a growing concern given multiple factors. First, zoonoses are often novel diseases that society is medically unprepared to treat, as was the case with HIV/AIDS and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), better known as mad cow disease. Second, zoonoses are unpredictable and have variable impacts on human and animal health. For example, different strains of influenza A virus—such as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 and pandemic H1N1 2009—have different host ranges and cause illnesses of different degrees of severity. Third, zoonotic diseases outbreaks are increasing in number: at least 65 percent of recent major disease outbreaks have zoonotic origins. Fourth, because of increasing international trade, travel, and movement of animals, zoonotic diseases can emerge anywhere and spread rapidly around the globe, as demonstrated by the recent outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the ongoing 2009 influenza pandemic. Fifth, the spread of zoonotic diseases can take a major economic toll on many disparate industries, including those in the agricultural, manufacturing, travel, and hospitality sectors, and can threaten the peace and economic stability of communities both directly and indirectly connected to disease outbreaks. The economic cost of HPAI H5N1 between 2003 and 2006 was estimated to equal nearly 2 percent of the regional gross domestic product of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

In response to concern about the global spread of zoonotic diseases, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) approached the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council for advice on how to achieve a more sustainable global capacity for surveillance and response to emerging zoonotic diseases. A study committee was formed to review global responses to zoonotic disease over the past several decades, and to examine the current state of global zoonotic disease surveillance systems in light of the underlying causes of disease emergence and spread. The committee also examined how an investment in global disease surveillance should be considered relative to funding emergency (critical situation) responses, and in its report makes recommendations for improving coordination between different surveillance systems, different governments, and different international organizations.

This briefing was for members of Congress and congressional staff only. The report was released to the public on September 22, 2009 and can be found, in its entirety, on the Web site of the National Academies Press.

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