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Predicting, preventing, and controlling pandemics: Making the case for a strategic action plan
Date:12/4/2012

rogram. Launched in 2009 The PREDICT project is active in 20 developing countries in emerging infectious disease hotspots and focuses on surveillance at humananimal interfaces where cross-species transmission is most likely, often identified through risk or "hotspots" modeling. An essential objective is also building capacity by partnering with local scientists and institutions. However, serious deficiencies remain in disease surveillance, in our understanding of the key groups of animals that spread zoonotic disease, and in our ability to analyze the results of these advanced technologies in order identify which pathogens represent a potential threat and which are harmless.

"There is no question of whether we will have more zoonotic pandemics the question is merely when, and where, the next pandemic will emerge," says Dr. Morse. "The challenge now is to establish whether and how researchers can intervene before a pathogen reaches the human population and develop appropriate triggers for action. Zoonotic diseases, by definition, should be a key mission of human health agencies, agricultural authorities and producers, and natural resource managers, all working cooperatively. However, in reality, the current situation leaves much to be desired, and we need substantial investments in each of these areas."

The Lancet Series is published ahead of a special 20th Anniversary Symposium to be held on December 11th 12th, 2012 in Washington, D.C., and hosted by the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats. In addition to covering the latest research, this year's symposium will take a retrospective look at the IOM's seminal reports on Emerging Infections (1992) and Microbial Threats to Health (2003) as well as the 1996 creation of the Forum. Dr. Morse is a member of the original IOM committee on emerging infections and will take part on two panels at this year's Symposium including one on New Initiatives in Surveillance.

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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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