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Sen. Franken Pushes Bill to Establish National Plan for Fighting Diseases Like Zika & Ebola


National One Health Act Will Help Top Agencies Understand, Prevent, and Respond to Animal Disease Outbreaks

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has introduced legislation that would establish a coordinated national plan to fight diseases that come from animal sources, including Zika and Ebola.

The One Health Act of 2016 would charge the nation's agencies—from the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—to work together on identifying specific goals and priorities to help understand, prevent, and respond to animal disease outbreaks.

"Nearly 75 percent of emerging human diseases, including Zika and Ebola, come from animals," said Sen. Franken. "Unfortunately, when those kinds of diseases threaten us, there often hasn't been enough coordination between animal health and human health officials. It's long past time we have plans in place before disease strikes, which is why I'll be pushing hard to pass my bill into law."

Sen. Franken, a member of the Senate Health Committee, has helped lead the charge to prevent the growing threat of diseases like Zika and Ebola. When the Ebola virus threatened the U.S. in 2014, he immediately started working with Minnesota health agencies and national groups to coordinate a statewide response to the disease. And more recently, he introduced bipartisan legislation to help speed up the process for developing safe and effective treatments and vaccines for the Zika virus.

The One Health Act of 2016 would require the Obama Administration and federal agencies to create a comprehensive strategy—the National One Health Framework—that will outline ways they can work together to address infectious diseases in animals and the environment, in order to prevent spread into human populations. It will also create competitive grant programs to carry out the programs outlined in the framework and spur collaboration between health programs at the state and local level. Sen. Franken's legislation will also urge international health organizations, like the World Bank and World Health Organization, to increase investments in One Health approaches to global health security.

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