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USDA Awards $5 Million for the Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza in the United States

Contact: James Spurling (202) 720-8187

(For a printable version of this release, click here.)

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Jan. 24, 2005-Agriculture Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics Joseph J. Jen Monday afternoon, January 24th announced that USDA will contribute $5 million to establish a research and education project to help prevent and control avian influenza. The multidisciplinary team of researchers and extension specialists represent 17 states, and will be led by the University of Maryland.

“This grant integrates critical research, education, and extension activities that will lead to the improved prevention and control of Avian influenza, a disease that continues to threaten the commercial poultry industry and has caused millions of dollars in losses in the past few year. This grant will bring together a group of the most prominent experts in avian influenza to improve the control of this disease in the United States,” Jen said.

Over $130 million in losses were sustained in an avian influenza outbreak in Virginia in 2002. In early 2004, there were detections of avian influenza in the eastern United States and in Texas, which required rapid control efforts.

The grant will link to, and leverage with, the recently funded Department of Homeland Security “National Center For Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense,” which includes work on four diseases that could possibly be transferred to humans, including Avian Influenza.

Funding for the research was provided by USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), an extramural research, education, and extension funding agency. This award, made through the National Research Initiative, is the largest for a single animal health disease or zoonotic threat made by the agency.

Partner states and institutions receiving funds from this award include: Alabama (Auburn University); California (University of California-Davis) ; Connecticut (University of Connecticut); Delaware (University of Delaware); Georgia (University of Georgia; Georgia Tech Research Institute; USDA-ARS-Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory); Maryland (University of Maryland); Minnesota (University of Minnesota); Ohio (Ohio States University); Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania State University); Texas (Texas A & M University); and Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin).

Additional collaborating Partner Institutions include: University of Alabama-Birmingham; Vaxin Inc. in Alabama; University of California-Fresno; North Carolina State University; Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico; New York Department of Agriculture; St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in Tennessee; Utah State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The project's Scientific and Stakeholder Advisory Boards, including the principal federal, state, local and industry partners, will play a prominent role in providing guidance and annual assessments for this national initiative for avian influenza biosecurity.