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Pandemic Influenza and Other Emerging Threats

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USAID supports hygienic models of meat markets and slaughterhouses to curb spread of disease
USAID supports hygienic models of meat markets and slaughterhouses to curb spread of disease.
Richard Nyberg/Vietnam

Vietnam is in a relatively high-risk region for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), including zoonotic diseases arising from the interaction of humans, livestock, wild animals and ecosystems. Examples of EIDs impacting Viet Nam in recent years include SARS in 2003, avian influenza A (H5N1) from late 2003 to the present, influenza A (H5N6) and the pandemic strain of influenza A(H1N1) in 2009. Risky practices related to bio-security of livestock and wildlife farming, and trade and consumption of animal products remain a strong concern and will require a long-term effort. USAID has supported strengthening of country systems to effectively address these and other emerging and transnational health threats in both humans and animals.

Influenza

While the number of reported H5N1 outbreaks has decreased substantially in recent years, outbreaks of the virus in poultry and sporadic human cases continue to occur. H1N1 influenza still circulates and can cause fatalities. Influenza A(H7N9) virus in humans and animals has circulated annually in China since 2013, and provides another example of a potentially serious threat to public health and economic development.

Since 2005, USAID has worked nationally and in high-risk provinces in the Red River and Mekong River deltas to strengthen national and regional preparedness, planning, and multi-sectoral coordination to prevent transmission of influenza and other viruses from animals to humans. Working closely with the Government of Vietnam, we promote early detection and warning of avian and human influenza outbreaks through improvements in national and community-based surveillance, with a focus on the animal-human-ecosystem interface under a One Health platform and development of quick-response capacity. USAID has supported training, an upgraded animal health information system, provision of equipment and commodities relevant to avian and pandemic influenza, enhanced laboratory diagnostic capacity and the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

Emerging Pandemic Threats

USAID launched the Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 (EPT-2) program in 2014, which builds on the successes of the Agency’s programs in disease surveillance, training, and outbreak response. The EPT-2 program expands the operational platforms, institutional partnerships and knowledge base developed over the past decade by USAID’s EPT-1 and the Avian Influenza (AI) portfolios to pre-empt or combat, at their source, newly emerging diseases of animal origin that could threaten human health. EPT-2 will directly improve the capacity of more than 20 focus countries in Africa and Asia to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, which are key objectives of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and the International Health Regulations. Under GHSA, and with the support of USAID and other partners, Vietnam is taking a leading global role in addressing zoonotic diseases and in expanding the scope and function of emergency operations centers.

USAID’s EPT-2 program will focus on helping countries detect viruses with pandemic potential, improve laboratory capacity to support surveillance, respond in an appropriate and timely manner, strengthen national and local response capacities, address the emerging threat of antimicrobial resistance, and educate at-risk populations on how to prevent exposure to dangerous pathogens. The EPT-2 program is managed by USAID with technical collaboration from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In addition, USAID awarded three new projects in 2014: Predict-2, One Health Workforce, and Preparedness & Response, to provide additional technical support to developing countries.

Since 2005, USAID has provided over $75 million in assistance and technical support to Vietnam through implementation partners, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Health.

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Last updated: May 12, 2017

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