Emerging Pandemic Threats Program

The Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program strengthens capacities in developing countries to prevent, detect, and control infectious diseases in animals and people with an emphasis on early identification of, and response to, dangerous pathogens from animals before they can become significant threats to human health.

Nearly 75 percent of all new, emerging, or re-emerging diseases affecting humans at the beginning of the 21st century are zoonotic (i.e. originated in animals). Notable reminders of how vulnerable the increasingly interconnected world is to the global impact of new emergent diseases include HIV/AIDS, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, and the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus. The speed with which these diseases can emerge and spread presents serious public health, economic, and development concerns. It also underscores the need for the development of comprehensive disease detection and response capacities, particularly in “hot spot” areas such as central Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Latin America where a confluence of risk factors may contribute to disease emergence.

EPT Projects

Relocating orangutan in Sabah province of Malaysia. Photo credit: A. Clements/USAID.

PREDICT Project

PREDICT focuses on detection and discovery of zoonotic diseases at the wildlife-human interface. Specific activities include: strengthening surveillance and laboratory capacities in order to monitor wildlife and people in contact with wildlife for novel pathogens that may pose a significant public health threat; characterizing human and ecological drivers of disease spillover from animals to people; strengthening and optimizing models for predicting disease emergence and using this information to improve surveillance; and supporting outbreak response when requested.

Close up of angry chimpanzee. Photo credit:Sergey Timofeev

PREVENT Project

PREVENT focuses on characterizing risks associated with disease transmission between animals and people and developing risk-mitigation strategies. Specific activities include: characterizing specific practices and behaviors (e.g. bushmeat hunting and butchering, raising wildlife for trade and consumption) that expose people to zoonotic diseases; and developing and deploying risk-mitigation strategies, including a tool for extractive-industry workers to decrease their exposure to emerging zoonoses.

A storeroom at Yejube Health Center, after new shelves and warehouse equipment were installed and the room reorganized. USAID/DELIVER Project

DELIVER Project

DELIVER supports USAID’s efforts to mitigate existing and emerging pandemic threats by procuring, stockpiling, and distributing commodities.

Photo of chickens.Photo credit: USAID/ RESPOND Project.

RESPOND Project

RESPOND focuses on pre-service workforce training and strengthening outbreak response capacity. Specific activities include: networking 34 schools of public health, veterinary medicine, and environment in both Africa and Southeast Asia to promote a “One Health” approach among future graduates; developing an outbreak response algorithm for health events where the cause has not yet been identified; and supporting outbreak response when requested.

Photo of a Biotech Laboratory in Indonesia. Photo credit: Billy Karesh/PREDICT Project.

IDENTIFY Project

IDENTIFY focuses on strengthening laboratory capacity to safely diagnose and report common animal and human pathogens. Specific activities include: improving laboratory assessment tools to allow for better targeting of technical support and training; developing and rolling out training modules on diagnosing highly-infectious diseases; improving laboratory management practices related to biosafety and biosecurity; “twinning” labs with developed country labs; and expanding monitoring of antimicrobial resistance rates among priority bacterial pathogens.

Last updated: May 21, 2014

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