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Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
July 11, 2007

United States International Engagement on Avian and Pandemic Influenza

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INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP

The threat of pandemic influenza has not changed. The U.S. Government remains concerned about the ongoing outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI ) H5N1 in birds and the potential for a human influenza pandemic that could have major global health, economic and social consequences. For this reason, as of June 2007 it has allocated $6.3 billion in emergency funding to address the threat of avian and pandemic influenza domestically and internationally.

The United States is working with countries and international organizations around the world to prepare for and respond to this challenge. President Bush announced the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza during the UN General Assembly in September 2005. The goals of the International Partnership include:

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

The International Partnership first met in Washington, D.C., in October 2005 to set the agenda, define goals and marshal resources for the international effort. The second meeting, in Vienna, Austria, in June 2006, included representatives from 93 countries and 20 international and regional organizations, who assessed progress and challenges and outlined future plans. The International Partnership will continue to meet as necessary.

As of April 2007, the United States had pledged $434 million to support international efforts along three pillars: preparedness and communication, surveillance and detection, and response and containment. The United States is working to strengthen international organizations’ capacity to address the threat in more than 100 nations and jurisdictions.

PREPAREDNESS AND COMMUNICATION

The United States is supporting preparedness efforts in more than 67 countries in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO ), the World Organization or Animal Health (OIE), and other international and in-country partners.

U.S. Government agencies, including the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) -- including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NI H) -- the Department of the Interior (DOI ), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAI D), have deployed scientists, veterinarians, public-health experts, physicians and emergency response teams to affected and high-risk countries to assist in the development and implementation of emergency preparedness plans and procedures for the response to avian and pandemic influenza.

Through the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the United States is collaborating closely with Canada and Mexico to develop a comprehensive North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza. The United States also works through international organizations such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and regional forums like the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, to strengthen preparedness.

The United States is supporting activities for more than 50 countries through HHS/CDC, USDA, USAI D and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to generate public awareness about avian influenza and to promote behaviors that reduce the risk of disease transmission.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has worked with USAI D and DOS to enhance its extensive radio, television and Internet coverage of international avian influenza outbreaks and responses in English and dozens of other languages for Asia, Africa and Latin America. BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) has worked with USAI D, DOS and WHO to provide specialized workshops for reporters.

SURVEILLANCE AND DETECTION

The United States is supporting efforts to expand animal and human disease surveillance systems, and is working with its partners to improve capacity for detection and laboratory diagnosis, as well as early-warning networks, in 75 countries and jurisdictions. This includes support for upgrading and improving national and regional laboratories, as well as sample collection and shipping to ensure the countries can quickly confirm the presence and nature of influenza viruses.

The Influenza Genome Sequencing Project is a collaborative effort to increase the genome knowledge base of influenza and help efforts to develop new influenza vaccines and drugs. Genome sequences of more than 2,250 influenza isolates have been made publicly available by HHS/NI H, which launched the project in 2004.

HHS/CDC has provided funds to strengthen WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN ) for surveillance and response worldwide and established a fund to ship specimens promptly to reference laboratories for further diagnosis and confirmation. HHS/CDC has also committed $26.8 million toward the development of Global Disease Detection (GDD) avian and pandemic influenza efforts in Thailand, Kenya, Egypt, Guatemala and China. HHS has provided $1 million to expand Institut Pasteur’s influenza laboratory and diagnostic work in critical regions. The HHS/NI H Pandemic Preparedness in Asia Contract has supported animal surveillance in wild birds, live bird markets and pigs in Southeast Asia since 1999.

USAI D and HHS/CDC launched the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance (GAIN S) project in 2006 to increase the availability of scientific information for detection and containment, track genetic changes in virus isolates and share information. The project is being implemented in coordination with USDA and DOI ’s U.S. Geological Survey. DOD has enhanced its Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (DODGEI S) to strengthen prevention, surveillance and response to infectious diseases. The United States, Canada and Mexico are coordinating surveillance for the early detection of HPAI in wild birds of North America through the Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management.

USDA has trained more than 490 veterinarians and diagnosticians from 96 affected and high-risk countries in veterinary epidemiology and avian influenza diagnostic protocols for surveillance and control measures for confirmed cases. USDA has deployed specialists and provided testing equipment and materials to priority countries to further strengthen diagnostic laboratory capacities.

RESPONSE AND CONTAINMENT

With WHO and FAO , the United States is providing training for thousands of policy and technical experts globally who will lead efforts to contain and mitigate the impact of animal outbreaks. Last year USDA and USAID assisted Romania and Nigeria in strengthening and implementing their respective national response plans. The U.S. has supported training of more than 129,000 animal health workers and 17,000 human health workers in surveillance and response.

Since January 2006, USAID has deployed more than 300,000 personal protective equipment (PPE ) kits to 71 countries for use by surveillance workers and outbreak response teams. USAID is pre-positioning PPE , decontamination and laboratory kits in 20 countries and has provided commodities to HHS and USDA operations, FAO , the Pan American Health Organization (PA HO) and agriculture and health ministries. A stockpile of antiviral medications has been positioned in Asia for potential use in a pandemic.

U.S. experts have participated with WHO in investigations into human cases of H5N1. In cooperation with FAO and OIE, the United States is also providing substantial assistance for avian influenza response activities in 39 of 60 affected countries and jurisdictions as of June 2007.

USAI D and USDA have provided expertise and funding for the FAO -OIE Crisis Management Center (CMC ) to facilitate rapid response to avian influenza animal outbreaks worldwide, integrated with human surveillance efforts in conjunction with WHO. Through the CMC , USDA has deployed specialists on rapid-response missions to Sudan, Ivory Coast and Bangladesh. USDA has also hosted training for 50 volunteers with expertise in epidemiology, biosecurity, surveillance and detection from more than 15 countries for CMC deployment. USAI D has supported CMC rapid response deployments in Africa. DOD is providing military-to-military training and exercises, and is assisting other countries in developing military preparedness and response plans.

UNITED STATES PLEDGES

The U.S. cash pledge of $334 million was the largest among bilateral donors at the Beijing conference in January 2006, where the global community pledged more than $1.8 billion to combat avian and pandemic influenza worldwide. By December 2006 the U.S. pledge had been increased to $434 million for overseas programs to:

  • Facilitate the development and implementation of national plans;
  • Support development of disease surveillance and laboratory capacity;
  • Stockpile PPE and emergency health commodities;
  • Conduct communications campaigns and public outreach activities;
  • Train responders to animal and human outbreaks; and
  • Improve national response capacity.

Of the total U.S. contribution:

  • Nearly $180 million is allocated to in-country activities;
  • Almost $64.5 million is for regional programs including disease detection sites;
  • Close to $44.5 million is devoted to support for international organizations;
  • $66.6 million is to be used for stockpiles of non-pharmaceutical supplies;
  • More than $45 million is allocated for international technical and humanitarian assistance and international coordination;
  • Over $9 million is designated for wild bird surveillance and international research (including vaccines and modeling of influenza outbreaks);
  • $8.6 million is dedicated to global communications and outreach;
  • $5.7 million is for global contingencies, including emergency response; and
  • $10 million is for building human vaccine production capacity.

Further information is available at www.pandemicflu.gov, www.state.gov/g/avianflu, www.usda.gov, www.hhs.gov, www.cdc.gov and www.usaid.gov.



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