KIMT NEWS 3 – U.S. Senator Tina Smith is introducing a bill to improve public health preparedness.
The proposed bill would ramp up efforts to prepare for and prevent infectious disease outbreak.
Scientists estimate more than six out of 10 known infectious diseases in people are spread through animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The goal is to have a “one health” approach, creating a way for the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, and CDC to better work together.
“We really need to do a better job of researching how this happens to begin with,” Smith said. “How diseases can be transferred from animals to humans, and this will be better for human health and better for animal health. I think will make us healthier.”
The avian flu outbreak, also known as bird flu, hit Minnesota back in 2015. Smith says the hope is we don’t have a repeat of that with another animal.
“Especially chronic wasting disease which is another infectious disease that affects deer and elk,” Smith said. “We want to make sure that doesn't make the leap to humans. This “one health” approach would say let's study this, let's figure out what we can do to stop that kind of transmission from happening and be ready to respond if it did.”
Smith said the USDA and CDC are already working together, this bill would just improve the coordination between the federal agencies studying human and animal health, as well as the environment.