The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is renewing its support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s efforts to combat highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and other emerging infectious diseases.

USAID’s commitment totals US$26.3 million for the period running from October 2011 to September 2012. The funds will support continuing FAO technical assistance to strengthen HPAI surveillance and outbreak response capacities. Particular focus will be in priority countries and regions where the disease is most prevalent, killing people, impacting poultry production and undermining food security. Priority countries include Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The funding will also be used to strengthen animal health laboratory capacities as well as animal surveillance and response capacities in “hot-spot” regions in order to combat other emerging disease threats.