By Beth Forbes
animal disease crises and increased awareness of the potential for
bioterrorism have placed added significance on disease prevention
as a way to protect American livestock.
or accidental, the possibility of a major disease outbreak among
U.S. livestock is a real concern for health and government officials.
established the National
Biosecurity Resource Center for Animal Health Emergencies to
help avert such catastrophes. The center offers information via
a Web site designed to help handle the challenges of animal health
emergencies. The center is a resource for government officials,
producers, veterinarians, commodity groups and others interested
in learning about biosecurity measures, which are based on scientific
prevention is a big key in maintaining a secure livestock industry,"
says Sandy Amass, assistant professor of veterinary clinical sciences
and center director. "Producers follow procedures they've done
for years without knowing whether or not they really work."
to information on disease prevention, cleaning and disinfecting,
the site includes state-by-state resources and regulations regarding
nutrient management, reportable diseases and carcass disposal.
the event of a real animal-health emergency, the Web site will serve
as a readily available resource for providing producers and decision-makers
with information on proper handling measures," Amass says.
Amass spent some time evaluating biosecurity measures at the Plum
Island research facilities in New York. She tested biosecurity
measures, such as hand washing and showering, to see if they would
prevent people from spreading foot
and mouth disease (FMD). The government center is the only place
in this country where the live FMD virus can be studied.
on presenting the results of her study this June at an international
meeting. "The Plum Island experience was very exciting and,
although we don't have all the lab work back yet, we have learned
a lot from the study," she says.