The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) includes Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and the southern provinces of China. In the GMS, the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in early 2003 and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) from 2004 to 2010 has marked this region as a hotspot for emerging infectious diseases.
Animal diseases that can also infect humans (called zoonotic diseases) are of greater global concern, given that growing economic integration, labour migration to urban centres and trade expansion make it possible for disease outbreaks to spread rapidly among human populations. Developed and developing countries are receptive to the need of improving our understanding of the dynamics of pathogen pools which originate in domestic animals and wildlife and subsequently infect humans — as recently seen with pandemic H1N1 virus.
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