EcoHealth Alliance Announces Emerging Disease Series in The Lancet featuring articles by Drs. Peter Daszak and William Karesh
NEW YORK – November 30, 2012
The Lancet Series Dovetails with Anniversary Symposium Hosted by Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats
EcoHealth Alliance, an international nonprofit organization that focuses on local conservation and global health, is honored to promote a special series of articles focused on emerging ‘zoonoses’ (diseases that originate in animals) in the prestigious journal, The Lancet. The series includes three articles titled, “Predicting and Preventing the Next Pandemic Zoonosis,” “Ecology of Zoonoses: Natural and Unnatural Histories,” and “Drivers, Dynamics, and Control of Emerging Vector-borne Zoonotic Diseases.” The Lancet Series also includes two commentaries titled, “Anatomy of a Pandemic,” and “Emerging Infectious Diseases: The Role of Social Sciences.” The Lancet is one of the world’s leading medical journals founded in 1823 and remains an independent global voice in global medicine, delivering its findings to 1.8 million subscribers worldwide. Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, was invited to be a guest editor for this special series on emerging infectious diseases. “It is an honor and privilege to work with The Lancet and bring together state-of-the-art information on what causes pandemics to emerge and how we can stop them. Pandemic zoonoses include SARS, Ebola and HIV/AIDS and are devastating when they emerge. What this series shows is that we have new ways to predict their origins, and discover them even before they reach our population – truly a brave new world for pandemic prevention,” said Dr. Daszak.
The publication of The Lancet Series, coincides with a special 20th Anniversary Symposium slated for December 11th – 12th, 2012 in Washington, DC hosted by the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Forum on Microbial Threats. The symposium will take a retrospective look at the Institute of Medicine’s seminal reports on Emerging Infections (1992) and Microbial Threats to Health (2003) as well as reflect upon the Institute of Medicine’s creation of the Forum in 1996. “This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the IOM’s seminal report on Emerging Infections, a study co-chaired by the late Joshua Lederberg and Robert Shope and the 15th anniversary of the creation of the Forum on Microbial Threats,” stated Dr. Eileen Choffnes, Scholar and Director of the IOM’s Forum on Microbial Threats. “It is a tribute to the vision of Joshua Lederberg that the activities of the Forum continue to examine emerging as well as long-standing challenges in microbial ecology in health and disease,” said Dr. Choffnes. The Forum on Microbial Threats is a key activity of the Institute of Medicine, providing an opportunity for policy and science stakeholders to be exposed to the latest information on infectious disease threats as well as the role of the microbiome in health and disease. Lead authors from the series will be in attendance and speaking at the symposium, bringing together some of the best minds in science, medicine, and policy. “No emerging infection has ever been predicted before it appeared in humans. That’s why developing a global early warning system was a key recommendation of the IOM report and of every expert group. With new technologies, for the first time in history we are now poised to predict and prevent emerging infections at the source, before they reach us. But we’re in the very early stages of learning how to use these new capabilities,” said Stephen S. Morse, lead author of “Predicting and Preventing the Next Pandemic Zoonosis”, Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a member of the original IOM committee on emerging infections. “This collection of papers offers a bridge between ecologists and clinicians whose combined efforts are needed to address the ongoing challenges of emerging zoonotic diseases,” said Marm Kilpatrick, assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The focus on emerging diseases lies at the core of EcoHealth Alliance’s mission. The organization works at the intersection of environmental, human and animal health. “The complex challenges posed by emerging diseases requires the application of innovative interdisciplinary approaches that integrate across the social, natural, and physical sciences,” says Craig Janes, commentary co-author and Professor of Global Health at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. The links between public and animal health are inextricably connected to environmental changes. “Our daily practices – such as the way we produce and consume our food, our forestry and mining operations, our choices in how we use land, water and our natural resources – are at the root of the millions and millions of human infections with zoonotic diseases every year,” concluded Dr. William B. Karesh, Exec. Vice President of EcoHealth Alliance.
The series in The Lancet and the Institute of Medicine’s Symposium will help support the efforts of many leaders in the field of emerging disease threats, surveillance, discovery as well as response to novel infectious diseases in humans, plants, and animals. “Humans are altering the environment and moving themselves and other organisms around the globe at an ever-increasing pace,” says Sam Scheiner, program director for the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF), a joint effort with NIH. “That has led to a growing disease threat. These papers show how and why that’s happening, and what we need to know to ease the disease burden.” Over 40 years of innovative science has laid the foundation of EcoHealth Alliance’s rigorous, science-based approach, focused at the intersection of the environment, health, and capacity building within disease ‘hotspots’ in more than 20 countries around the globe.
About EcoHealth Alliance
Building on over 40 years of groundbreaking science, EcoHealth Alliance is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and safeguarding human health from the emergence of disease. The organization develops ways to combat the effects of damaged ecosystems on human and wildlife health. Using environmental and health data covering the past 60 years, EcoHealth Alliance scientists created the first-ever, global disease hotspots map that identified at-risk regions, to help predict and prevent the next pandemic crisis. That work is the foundation of EcoHealth Alliance’s rigorous, science-based approach, focused at the intersection of the environment, health, and capacity building. Working in the U.S. and more than 20 countries worldwide, EcoHealth Alliance’s strength is founded on innovations in research, training, global partnerships, and policy initiatives. For more information, please visit www.ecohealthalliance.org.