October 17, 2003
Oct. 17, 2003 -- Effective surveillance is the key to detecting and controlling a foreign animal disease outbreak in the United States. This point was emphasized by a number of speakers at the meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) committee on foreign and emerging diseases this week in San Diego.
Dr. Valerie Ragan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) provided an overview of a new national surveillance unit within APHIS. She indicated that historically, USDA has conducted surveillance targeted at single diseases. The new unit will develop a comprehensive, coordinated and integrated national system for disease surveillance.
Dr. Jerry Parker with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) emphasized the absolute importance of protecting animal health as part of the national infrastructure. He said it is imperative to diagnose a foreign animal disease as soon as possible after introduction.
The vision remains unchanged: To create a world-class National Animal Health Emergency Management System, which includes a national response plan, state-local relationships and industry initiatives.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, 304-647-9981