The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is pleased to announce the final Strategic Framework outlining how the agency will advance surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging zoonotic diseases, as directed by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP). Early detection and response to pathogens with zoonotic potential while still in animals, including animals used for food, is essential in limiting or preventing human outbreaks. Additionally, the Agency has launched a new website to help stakeholders and the public stay up to date on the Agency’s broad array of ongoing One Health initiatives, as well as SARS-CoV-2 surveillance projects and other activities funded by the $300 million provided by the American Rescue Plan Act.
“The One Health concept recognizes that the health of people, animals, and the environment are all linked,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “Using this One Health approach will benefit the country for many years to come by better enabling us to rapidly detect new disease threats and provide intelligence to our public health partners.”
In August 2021, APHIS announced its proposed Strategic Framework to guide surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging and zoonotic diseases in susceptible animals and build an early warning system to alert public health partners to potential threats so they can take steps sooner to prevent or limit the next global pandemic. The Agency solicited input from the public through Regulations.gov and a series of public listening sessions. APHIS appreciates the helpful suggestions for tools, methods, and potential partnerships as it moves into the implementation phase of its early warning surveillance program.
“The final Strategic Framework builds on APHIS’ proven expertise preparing for and responding to foreign animal disease outbreaks,” said APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea. “At APHIS, we are driven by the great opportunity this initiative provides to propel our work in the One Health arena forward, and in turn better protect the health of animals, plants, humans, and our shared environments while minimizing the negative impacts of COVID-19 and other emerging and zoonotic diseases on the economy and food security.”
USDA is working to implement a risk-based, comprehensive, integrated disease-monitoring and surveillance system domestically, and enhance collaborations with national, regional, and global partners to build additional capacity for zoonotic disease surveillance and prevention.
The new One Health website will provide valuable data on testing and surveillance and, over time, will provide an important One Health link by sharing guidance based on the outcomes of APHIS ARP work and linking to valuable information from other One Health partners.
Visitors to the site can read background information on the ARP and APHIS’ Strategic Framework, as well as summaries of ARP-funded surveillance projects and other activities. From the page, they can also click on a link to sign up to receive automatic email alerts when new project summaries and other ARP updates are posted.