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U.S. joins Global Health Security Agenda targeting infectious diseases


By Steven Ross Johnson
Posted: February 13, 2014 - 1:45 pm ET
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The U.S. is joining an international initiative to reduce the dangers associated with infectious diseases, with a goal of protecting 4 billion people over the next five years.

The Global Health Security Agenda, launched Thursday, includes 26 countries as well as international health organizations that will work together to develop faster detection and responses to infectious disease outbreaks before they reach pandemic levels.

“Global health security is a shared responsibility; no one country can achieve it alone,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who encouraged other nations to join the initiative. She said the scope and initial goals of the effort are “an important first start, but our vision is for all people in all countries to be effectively protected against threats posed by infectious disease.”

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The U.S. commitment will involve HHS and several other agencies, including the Agriculture, Defense and State departments. They will work with fellow participants to slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance; establish biosecurity systems; reduce the transmission of disease from animals to humans; increase routine immunization; and develop public health electronic reporting systems and emergency operation centers.

Participating countries include fellow G8 member countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom as well as Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Ethiopia, Finland, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Georgia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Uganda and Vietnam.

President Barack Obama's proposed budget seeks an additional $45 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve protections against infectious disease. The White House plans to host a meeting with other countries this fall to review the collaborative's progress.

Follow Steven Ross Johnson on Twitter: @MHSjohnson


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