EcoHealth Alliance and the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center Joining Forces to Fight Emerging Infectious Diseases
NEW YORK – August 19, 2013
EcoHealth Alliance and U.S. Department of Agriculture Team Up
EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on local conservation and global health issues, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Research Center (USDA-NWRC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate in combating a growing global challenge, the prevention and control of diseases that affect humans and animals, including wildlife and domestic animals. The MOU encourages joint surveillance, applied research, education and outreach activities.
“Given today’s global society and economy, it’s imperative that Federal, State and local agencies, universities, and private organizations come together to address emerging infectious diseases,” states Dr. Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance. “Diseases don’t just affect one country or region anymore. Their impacts are global.”
Of the more than 1,400 infectious pathogens known to cause disease in humans, 61 percent are transmissible between humans and animals, with 50 percent of emergent infections involving wildlife. Understanding the risk to wildlife from these diseases, as well as the various roles wildlife play in the transmission of diseases to humans and domestic animal heath are critical to developing, mitigation methods and strategies.
“Taking a One Health approach – whereby experts from multiple disciplines including human health, domestic animal health, and wildlife ecology come together to address emerging infectious diseases – is crucial to ensuring optimal health for humans and the environment,” states USDA-NWRC Director Dr. Larry Clark. “Our efforts with EcoHealth Alliance and others will emphasize such an approach.”
Through the MOU, scientists at EcoHealth Alliance and the USDA-NWRC will focus on tracking and understanding emerging diseases in wildlife, developing effective methods for notifying local communities of potential disease outbreaks and preventing disease spread, and developing new methods to control invasive species to improve food safety and security while minimizing impacts on the environment and other species.
About U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Research Center
The National Wildlife Research Center is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services program. It is the Federal institution devoted to resolving problems caused by the interaction of wild animals and society. The center applies scientific expertise to the development of practical methods to resolve these problems and to maintain the quality of the environments shared with wildlife. To learn more about NWRC, please visit: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/
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.
Anthony M. Ramos, EcoHealth Alliance
Gail M. Keirn, USDA-NWRC