Today, the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, has issued a special series of articles focused on emerging zoonoses (human diseases that originate in or are shared with animals). The featured papers are authored by leading scientists, many of whom collaborate with the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Pandemic Influenza and Other Emerging Threats (PIOET) program, which was established in October 2009 to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive international effort to preempt the emergence of future pandemic diseases, such as HIV and influenzas.
The Lancet series consists of three papers:
Ecology of zoonoses: natural and unnatural histories;
Drivers, dynamics and control of emerging vector-borne zoonotic diseases; and
Prediction and prevention of the next pandemic zoonosis.
The papers are complemented by two comment pieces: Anatomy of a pandemic; and Emerging infectious diseases: the role of social sciences. All of the articles can be accessed at: http://www.thelancet.com/series/zoonoses.
According to Dennis Carroll, PhD, Director of the USAID's PIOET program, "These papers underscore the importance of emerging infectious diseases. But more importantly, they highlight the opportunities to build on the recent advances in science and technology to enable the global community to identify potential future threats earlier and respond more quickly before they are fully constituted."