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U.S. safer if it fights infectious diseases with others

Jan. 31, 2014 at 1:21 AM

ATLANTA, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The United States is safer if it works with countries to fight infectious diseases because nations are connected by food and drinking water, officials say.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said global health security -- keeping the United States and the world safe and secure from infectious disease threats -- is achieved by preventing, detecting and responding to outbreaks as early and effectively as possible.

"The health security of the United States is only as strong as the health security of all nations around the world. We are all connected by the food we eat, the water we drink, and air we breathe," Frieden said in a statement.

"Stopping outbreaks where they start is the most effective and least costly way to prevent disease and save lives at home and abroad -- and it's the right thing to do."

For example, during six months of intensive collaboration, the CDC worked with Uganda's Ministry of Health and Vietnam's Ministry of Health to modernize diagnostic testing for high-risk pathogens, develop real-time information systems for faster outbreak response, and improve emergency operations procedures.

The article, published in the CDC's the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, said threats to global health security include new and re-emerging pathogens, increasing antibiotic resistance and intentionally created bioweapons.

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