Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The Cost of Biological Threats

Detailed Description

MONITORING BIOLOGICAL THREATS: Protecting Ecosystems, Public Safety, and the Economy

Biological threats like diseases and invasive species can spread through nature, causing an incredible ripple effect on human populations. Biological threats can endanger wildlife, livestock, agriculture, forestry, public health, and recreational resources  that people rely on. The USGS studies a range of biological hazards to help limit their impacts.


  • $1,000,000,000 SPENT - Over the last decade, communities across the United States have spent more than $1 billion dealing with harmful algal blooms.
  • $3,000,000,000 IN LOSSES - An avian influenza outbreak in 2014-2015 resulted in over $3 billion in losses to the U.S. poultry industry.
  • $18,000,000,000 BENEFIT - Bee declines continue to threaten American agriculture, where bee pollination supports an $18 billion farming industry.
  • $21,000,000,000 PER YEAR - The annual estimated economic and health-related costs of invasive species in the United States have been reported at more than $21 billion.


The rise in biological threats over the past several decades has a profound economic and social impact, costing the country billions of dollars annually and resulting in the loss of lives and livelihoods. USGS is leading efforts in risk prediction and forecasting, early detection, enhanced situational awareness, and consequence management for biological threats.

75% OF HUMAN DISEASES - Roughly three quarters of all emerging human diseases come from animal origins, i.e. "zoonatic diseases."

100% OF UNITED STATES - Invasive plants and animals now infest habitats in every state and territory in the U.S., adding up to thousands of species across the country and harming native wildlife, human health, and our economy.

Background Image: Scientist preparing Influenza A virus samples for Sequencing, Yvette Gillies, USGS

Piggy Bank Image:

1 -The High Cost of Algae Blooms in U.S. Waters,

2 - Avian Influenza, USGS

3 - Pollinators at a Crossroads, U.S. Department of Agriculture

4 -

5 - Zoonotic Diseases, USGS

6 - Invasive Species Program, USGS



Public Domain.