Emerging Infectious Disease Research
More than ever before we are facing the threat of new diseases that seemingly erupt out of nowhere. More than 60 percent of all new emerging infectious diseases derive from animal hosts including: Ebola, SARS, HIV/AIDS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Avian influenza. These man-made epidemic diseases have all emerged as a result from the destruction of the rainforests, loss of wildlife habitats, and climate change. Emerging infectious disease causes morality rates upwards of 15 million people each year – many victims are children under the age of six.
As a partner organization in USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats ‘PREDICT’ program, EcoHealth Alliance is working in global disease hotspot regions to uncover viral threats by testing wildlife known to carry viruses. Through PREDICT, EcoHealth Alliance is:
- Teaching the next generation of conservation scientists in the more than 18 countries where we are conducting fieldwork
- Developing capacity to strengthen and educate teams of scientists to help detect, prevent and control infectious diseases in animals and people
- Focusing on the early identification of dangerous wildlife pathogens and rapid response to thwart the spread of disease before they become a significant threat to public health
EcoHealth Alliance in collaboration with its PREDICT partners have trained 2,500 scientists, veterinarians, public health professionals, lab technicians, foreign government ministries and medical personnel in disease prediction and prevention methods. EcoHealth Alliance worked with partner labs and in-country field techs to humanely sample non-human primates, rodents, bats and other wildlife accumulating in more than 56,000+ biological samples that were tested for new viruses. The results of this concerted effort resulted in the detection of 980+ unique viruses with the discovery of 815 completely new viruses.
Early detection and discovery of new viruses ultimately helps inform global public health agencies like the World Health Organizations and the CDC to advance programs and education to stop diseases in their tracks.