Emerging Pandemic Threats

A woman buying a rabbit in the market

Over recent decades, multiple epidemic events have underscored how highly vulnerable we are to viral threats. Our world is globally connected—and an "emerging threat" in one part of the world can pose a threat everywhere and to everyone.

About 75 percent of new human diseases are caused by microbes that originate in animals. These include HIV, influenzas (including pandemic H1N1, H5N1, and H7N9), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Ebola, Marburg, and Nipah. Several of these have spread extensively in human populations, causing global epidemics (also known as pandemics).

To minimize the impact of pandemic threats on human health and economic and social stability, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT-2) program in 2014. EPT-2 builds on the lessons and knowledge from EPT-1 and brings heightened focus to places and practices that not only enable new microbial threats to "spill over" but also potentiate their spread.

The program invests in "one health" policies that span public health, agriculture, environment, economic growth, and education. All of these sectors must be reached for the prevention and control of such threats.

At the heart of EPT-2's approach has been the recognition that, to be effective, USAID cannot be successful on its own and must partner with a range of other U.S. Government agencies and multilateral, bilateral, national, non-governmental, and private sector players. These partnerships [PDF, 215KB] highlight the multisectoral nature of the Global Health Security Agenda, which USAID implements primarily through the Emerging Pandemic Threats Program.

EPT-2 ends September 2019.

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