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The Russian Anti-Plague System: An Overlooked Zoonotic Disease Surveillance and Response System

  • Authors: McNamara T, Gresham L, Elleman T, and Platonov A.

  • Journal: EcoHealth Journal 2011 Vol. 8 Supplement 1.

  • Type: Abstract

  • Directorate: Fondation Mérieux USA

  • Published: 2011


a. In the past decade, there has been increased recognition of the need to address diseases at the human–animal interface. The United Kingdom’s Foresight report of 2006 stated that the increasing threat of zoonoses requires better integration between human and animal disease research and surveillance. A 2009 study by the Royal Society stressed that a more integrated approach to infectious diseases would lead to overall improvements in public health and decrease response times to major outbreaks. However, another recent report by the Institute of Medicine (USA) was unable to identify a single example of a well-functioning, integrated zoonotic disease surveillance system across human and animal health sectors. This statement is not entirely accurate. While it may apply to countries in the West, it overlooks the fact that Russia and the central Asian states have had a formal zoonotic disease detection and response system for many years. The AntiPlague System, which was established in response to the threat of plague but which now covers all ‘‘especially dangerous pathogens’’ (EDPs), has features worth review. Although the system has fallen on hard times since the collapse of the Soviet Union, it still has well defined reporting and response systems and mandatory training programs in the recognition of zoonotic threats and legislation. This unique approach to zoonotic threats might inform efforts in other countries as they struggle to develop their own systems and will be reviewed.

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