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The 2014 Ebola outbreak demonstrated that deadly diseases do not respect international borders, and that the world is underprepared for the next such incident. In addition, the global spread of infections resistant to almost all known antibiotics underlines that safeguarding human health is a joint endeavor. Several governments have signed up to the Global Health Security Agenda to ensure better cooperation and preparedness. CGD assesses progress and obstacles and suggests how international agencies can ensure the world is ready to fight dangerous and widespread infections when, not if, they next emerge.
Since Charles, Janeen, and I last wrote about the links between drug-resistant superbugs and antibiotic use in livestock, there has been a slew of new interesting, terrifying, and informative things to read on the topic. And they all underscore the need for a global approach to reduce agricultural use of antibiotics to promote animal growth and prevent disease in large, concentrated feeding operations. We offered initial ideas on the essential elements of a global treaty here. You can also read more about the problem, and the steps taken thus far to address it, in my new CGD book, Global Agriculture and the American Farmer: Opportunities for US Leadership.