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Smith's Bipartisan Bill Designed to Prevent Infectious Diseases in Human, Animals

June 19, 2019 11:19 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It was only a few years ago when an outbreak of avian flu wreaked havoc on the economy, farmers and consumers.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith introduced a bipartisan bill with Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana that would work to prevent future outbreaks, and make sure if they do happen, government agencies are better prepared.

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The bill is centered around a “one health” approach, focusing on the link between animal health and human health: The idea that disease in one commonly spreads to disease in the other.

“I know that our farmers and animal producers go to great lengths to protect their herds and their flocks to make sure they are safe and healthy, but yet we still have a lot to learn about how these infectious diseases make the jump, and do everything we can to prevent that from when it happens,” Smith said.

Smith said after talking with experts in the health field, she learned six in 10 infectious diseases in humans begin with an animal.
“It’s very, very important to animal health and human health, and we tend to think about those two things separately, and that’s the whole point of this bill – that we need to have a one health approach,” Smith said.

Smith’s ‘Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act’ would improve coordination between federal agencies, have them adopt a “one health” approach, and support better research on the relationship between animal and human health.

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