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UC Davis leads attack on deadly new diseases
Date:10/23/2009

In hopes of preventing the next global pandemic and a possible death toll into the millions, UC Davis today launches an unprecedented international effort to find and control diseases that move between wildlife and people.

The global early warning system, named PREDICT, will be developed with funding of up to $75 million over five years and is one of five new initiatives of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) known in combination as the Emerging Pandemic Threats Program. Building on its long-standing programs in disease surveillance and response, USAID is developing these initiatives to help prepare the world for infectious diseases like H1N1 flu, avian flu, SARS and Ebola.

UC Davis' primary PREDICT partners, which have formed a global consortium to implement PREDICT around the world, are: Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlife Trust, Global Viral Forecasting Inc., and Smithsonian Institution.

"Predicting where new diseases may emerge from wild animals, and detecting viruses and other pathogens before they spread among people, give us the best chance to prevent new pandemics," said Jonna Mazet, the UC Davis scientist leading PREDICT. Mazet directs the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center within the new One Health Institute at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The concept of 'One Health' -- that human, animal and environmental health are inextricably linked and should be considered holistically -- is a core principle of the PREDICT team.

"To establish and maintain global pathogen surveillance, we will work directly with local governments and conservation organizations to build or expand programs in wildlife and human health. Together we want to stop the next HIV," Mazet said. "This collaborative approach is key to PREDICT's success."

The PREDICT team will be active in global hotspots where important wildlife host species have significant interaction with domestic an
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Contact: Jonna Mazet
jkmazet@ucdavis.edu
530-754-9035
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

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