USAID should also lead an effort to identify sustainable funding sources to develop and maintain this new system. Funding for surveillance traditionally has focused on individual diseases with disproportionate resources aimed at infections in humans compared with those in animals. Moreover, development aid budgets tend to fluctuate with changes in leadership or priorities. The effort to find sustainable funding should specifically consider a tax on internationally traded meat and meat products as one possible mechanism, although the pros and cons of all options must be weighed to determine which funding sources will work best, the report notes.
The U.S. government and other donor organizations should provide economic incentives and technical and medical assistance to encourage the reporting of outbreaks and to lessen the social and economic consequences. Repercussions such as drops in trade and tourism and necessary culling of livestock can lead individuals and nations to conceal outbreaks.
In addition, the report calls for the director general of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to have the power to declare animal health emergencies and make public credible information it receives about animal disease outbreaks if national governments fail to provide information in a timely manner. Greater transparency could improve control of animal diseases before they decimate livestock or wildlife or make large numbers of people sick.
"Developing an effective global system for detecting and responding to emerging zoonotic diseases is a tall order," said committee co-chair Gerald T. Keusch, associate provost for global health and associate dean for global health, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston. "However, given the political will and financial resources that have been marshaled time and again to respond to the individual 'disease du jour' as each has arisen, we belie
|Contact: Christine Stencel|
National Academy of Sciences