The AVMA supports the concept of national surveillance for zoonotic diseases in animals and humans. Emergent and resurgent zoonotic diseases are among the most important infectious disease threats facing public and animal health agencies at the beginning of the 21st century. The increased risk for the potential use of some of these pathogens for bioterrorist purposes underscores the importance of zoonotic agents of disease in both the public health and animal health communities. Effective surveillance will require collection and dissemination of large amounts of data as well as the collective efforts of multiple federal, state, and private organizations. Animal and human health have benefitted from veterinary expertise in zoonotic diseases, and much progress has been made in preventing, managing, and controlling serious emerging outbreaks such as West Nile virus infection, influenza, and severe acute respiratory syndrome.
The AVMA supports a systematic process for submitting surveillance data to animal and human health agencies and the subsequent timely compilation and reporting of summary information back to stakeholders, with a mechanism for protecting confidentiality. This surveillance should have a broad-based, national scope and include multiple species and routes of disease transmission between animals and people.
Relevant AVMA Policy: