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Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
October 25, 2008

U.S. Government Support to Combat Avian and Pandemic Influenza -- An Update

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The United States Government remains concerned about ongoing outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in birds, and the potential for a global influenza pandemic in humans that could have major health, economic and social consequences. To date, the United States has allocated $6.9 billion to address these threats domestically and internationally.

The United States is working with countries and international organizations to respond to this challenge. President Bush announced the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza (IPAPI) during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2005. The goals of the International Partnership include:

  • Elevating the avian/pandemic influenza issues on national agendas;
  • Coordinating efforts among donor and affected nations;
  • Mobilizing and leveraging resources;
  • Increasing transparency in disease reporting and improving surveillance;
  • Building local capacity to identify, contain and respond to an influenza pandemic.

The International Partnership first met in Washington, D.C., in October 2005. Subsequent international conferences have taken place in Beijing, China (January 2006); Vienna, Austria (June 2006); Bamako, Mali (December 2006); and New Delhi, India (December 2007). The next major international conference takes place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in October 2008.


The United States is supporting preparedness efforts in more than 75 countries in collaboration with the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and other partners.

The U.S. Departments of State (DOS), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS) -- including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC), the National Institutes of Health (HHS/NI H), and the Food and Drug Administration (HHS/FDA) -- Homeland Security, the Interior (DOI), and Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), contribute to U.S. international engagement. The U.S. has deployed scientists, veterinarians, public health experts, physicians and emergency rapid response teams.

Through the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, the United States, Canada and Mexico have developed and begun implementing a comprehensive North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza.

In collaboration with ministries of health and WHO Regional Offices, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/ CDC) assisted 32 countries in completing national inventories of core capabilities for pandemic influenza preparedness and response. These data highlight country strengths and provide much-needed information for strategic planning and the ongoing investment of resources.

In addition, the United States supports regulatory capacitybuilding through HHS/FDA involvement with the WHO network to strengthen the regulatory authorities of developing countries, work towards a mutual understanding of different regulatory approaches, and allow harmonization of an approach to vaccines.

HHS/CDC and the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit 3 of the Department of Defense (DoD/NAMRU-3) hosted the first annual avian influenza grantee meeting in Cairo, with participation by 38 countries.


United States support for the expansion of disease surveillance systems includes strengthening early warning networks in some 75 countries that will improve laboratories and the procedures for handling samples and ensure faster confirmation of influenza viruses. HHS/CDC is also initiating efforts to enhance collaboration and strengthen human-animal interface activities for zoonotic diseases. The United States plays a major role in the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network.

Through the HHS/NIH Influenza Genome Sequencing Project (IGSP), the U.S. contributes to the genome knowledge base used for vaccine development. Since 2004, HHS/NIH has made genome sequences of over 3000 influenza isolates publicly available. In addition, the U.S. contributes to global influenza research capacity by supporting foreign scientists through HHS/NIH extramural research and training grants, often through collaborative projects with U.S.-based scientists.

HHS and USAID have provided funds to strengthen the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network United States (GOARN), and have established a fund to ship specimens promptly to reference laboratories.

In coordination with USDA and the DOI U.S. Geological Survey, USAID and HHS/CDC launched the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance of wild birds (GAINS) in 2006 to make information available for detection and containment, and to track genetic changes in virus isolates. DoD has expanded its Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (GEIS) network to at least 60 countries, while expanding laboratory testing and training capabilities in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Through its support of NAMRU-3 in Cairo, DoD-GEIS has provided epidemiologic and laboratory diagnostic training for ministries of health and agriculture of 27 countries. Capacity building and surveillance are underway in twenty countries. The United States, Canada and Mexico are coordinating wild bird surveillance in North America.

HHS/CDC is rapidly increasing the number of National Influenza Centers (NICs) in Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Caucasus. USDA has trained more than 490 veterinarians and diagnosticians from 96 affected and highrisk countries, and has deployed specialists, testing equipment, and materials to strengthen diagnostic laboratory capacities. USAID has trained thousands of veterinary and human healthcare workers in surveillance and outbreak containment, and has trained over 100,000 village health volunteers.


In cooperation with FAO and OIE , the U.S. is providing substantial assistance to respond to avian influenza in 39 of 61 affected countries. The U.S. Government has positioned antiviral medications in Asia for use at the beginning of a pandemic. U.S. experts have assisted WHO and ministries of health in investigating suspected human cases of H5N1, and are planning for a humanitarian response in the event of a pandemic. U.S experts have assisted WHO and ministries of health in investigating suspected human cases of H5N1, and are planning for a humanitarian response in the event of a pandemic.

With WHO and FAO , the United States is training thousands of policy and technical experts to contain animal outbreaks. USDA and USAID have helped strengthen and test national response plans. The U.S. has supported the training of more than 129,000 animal healthcare workers and 17,000 human healthcare workers in surveillance and response. Since January 2006, USAID has deployed personal protective (PPE) and decontamination equipment to 78 countries for surveillance and response. This year, USAID launched a regional commodities distribution site to support emergency requests throughout Southeast Asia. Since April 2007, DoD has shipped over 120,000 PPE kits to 23 countries.

USAID and USDA have provided expertise and funding for the Crisis Management Center-Animal Health (CMC-AH), an FAO-led collaboration with OIE and WHO to coordinate response to animal outbreaks worldwide. HHS/CDC has supported regional public health response training and rapid response teams. Through the CMC, USDA has deployed specialists on rapid response missions in Africa, South Asia, and the Arab world. USDA has trained volunteers from more than fifteen countries in epidemiology, biosecurity, surveillance and detection for CMC deployment, and has deployed experts to Africa and Southeast Asia to assist in biosecurity, laboratory diagnostics, and epidemiology. DoD is conducting military-tomilitary training and exercises, and is assisting other countries’ militaries and ministries of health to develop preparedness and response plans. DoD has provided rapid-response training in the Middle East/North Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, in coordination with the Combatant Commands and its laboratories in Cairo, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Lima. Additionally, DoD Overseas Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster and Civic Aid Funds have been requested in FY 2008 to support eight countries’ militaries. Combatant Command plans include rapid response training for eight Asian nations and cooperation with experts from six Asian countries. Since 2005, NAMRU-3, a WHO H5N1 reference laboratory, has provided support for outbreaks in thirteen countries.


The latest U.S. Government pledge of international assistance -- $320 million announced at the Sixth International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt -- is in addition to the $629 million previously pledged, and brings the total U.S. Government commitment to $949 million. United States funding supports international efforts in more than 100 nations and jurisdictions, focused on three areas: preparedness and communication; surveillance and detection; and response and containment. Of the $629 million,

  • $233 million is allocated to bilateral activities;
  • $128.5 million supports regional programs, including disease-detection sites;
  • $102 million supports international organizations, including $42 million to WHO Headquarters and its six regional offices for capacity-building and pandemic preparedness, and $10 million for building human vaccine production capacity;
  • $66.5 million for stockpiles of non-pharmaceutical supplies, including 1.6 million personal protection kits, approximately 250 laboratory specimen collection kits and 15,000 decontamination kits for use in surveillance, outbreak investigation and emergency response and containment efforts;
  • $66 million is allocated for international technical and humanitarian assistance and international coordination;
  • $17.5 million is designated for wild-bird surveillance and international research (including vaccines and modeling of influenza outbreaks), including the U.S. launch of the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance (GAINS) for wild birds, with a collection of tens of thousands of samples for H5N1 analysis;
  • $15.5 million is dedicated to global communications and outreach.

Further information is available at www.pandemicflu.gov.

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