Workshop Report/Summary

Most of the diseases that have emerged over the past six decades, including AIDS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Avian Influenza, have been caused by zoonotic pathogens -- infectious agents that are transmitted from animals to humans. In today's globalized world, the emergence of new zoonotic diseases could have devastating health, economic, environmental, agricultural, and sociopolitical impacts. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council convened a workshop to discuss the current global capacity for zoonotic disease surveillance as a way of detecting and preventing zoonotic disease outbreaks in humans and animals; this workshop report summarizes the discussions from that workshop. An independent committee of experts will follow up these discussions with a consensus study on improving the global capacity for zoonotic disease surveillance and response, to be released in June 2009.

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