US, 26 Countries Launch Effort to Fight Outbreaks

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. and 26 other nations are announcing a new collaboration to prevent and fight outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases before they spread around the globe.

U.S. health officials say the Global Health Security Agenda is a priority because there are too many blind spots -- countries that lack the health care necessary to sound the alarm when a new infection emerges.

Those at Thursday's meeting include China, which U.S. officials praise for swiftly alerting the world to a new bird flu last year. Also there is Saudi Arabia, center of an outbreak of a mysterious new respiratory virus.

Participants also include Britain, Canada, Russia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says fewer than 20 percent of countries are prepared to respond to emerging infections.

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