MBI and FAO United Nations to collaborate to combat emerging infectious diseases

20 March 2019
Associate Professor Navneet Dhand signs agreement with FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and The Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity (MBI) have joined hands to combat the threat of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases by increasing capacity in outbreak investigation and disease surveillance. 

Associate Professor Navneet Dhand of the MBI has signed an agreement with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to develop technical guidelines for in-service applied veterinary epidemiology training, vital for diagnosing, preventing and controlling infectious diseases. The guidelines will enable the FAO member countries to establish new programs in epidemiology training and to strengthen the existing ones.

“Capacity in epidemiology, particularly in outbreak investigation and disease surveillance is critical to meet the challenges of emerging infectious diseases”, said A/Professor Dhand. “Only about half-a-dozen countries have such programs, but even these programs are of quite variable standards. Our guidelines will provide a standard approach and enable animal health authorities in various countries to bring their existing programs up to international standards. The guidelines will also make it easier for countries to establish new training programs”.

Emerging infectious diseases are caused by previously unknown, new or evolving infectious agents. Recent examples include Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and pandemic influenza - all of which have caused significant economic losses and socioeconomic disruption.

“The University of Sydney is internationally recognised for its talented academics and researchers who have made significant contributions in discovering and controlling emerging infectious diseases. This agreement is an evidence of our international reputation and standing in this area.” said Professor Sorrell.

Funds for this work have been provided by the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).

MBI is committed to meeting the challenges of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. This agreement with the FAO will enable MBI to further expand our global reach and increase our contribution in tackling these infections
Professor Tania Sorrell, Director MBI