The U.S. Government is concerned that the ongoing outbreaks of avian influenza in birds have the potential to turn into a human influenza pandemic that would have significant global health, economic, and social consequences. The President's November 2005 National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza assigned the lead role for the U.S. Government's international efforts in dealing with avian and pandemic influenza to the Department of State.
The Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs has developed the Avian Influenza Action Group headed by the Special Representative for Avian and Pandemic Influenza. The Avian Influenza Action Group, in close collaboration with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other agencies, leads the Department's work on developing an international engagement strategy based on preparedness, prevention, and containment. The Avian Influenza Action Group is involved in efforts to: engage political leadership in affected nations through bilateral interactions and multilateral forums; strengthen transparency and international cooperation; improve surveillance and laboratory capacity; strengthen coordination between human and animal health sectors; and develop coordination of concerned countries.
All involved agencies throughout the U.S. Government are coordinating to maintain up-to-date U.S. information on pandemic flu and avian influenza at pandemicflu.gov. The State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs will keep international travelers up to date through their travel fact sheet.