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Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Response to a Highly Infectious Disease Outbreak llama photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

Emergency Preparedness—
Response to a Highly Infectious Disease Outbreak


Containment
Animal Depopulation
Disinfection
Milk Disposal
Movement Restrictions in the Surveillance Area

What steps would be taken if Foot and Mouth Disease were found in the US?

In the event of an FMD outbreak, the following activities will be essential to controlling and eradicating the disease:

Containment

  • In the event of a suspected case of FMD, a team of animal health officials will quarantine the affected farm or facility until a definite diagnosis is made.
  • The team will set up movement controls covering an area of several miles around the affected farm or other affected locations.
  • Movement of all animals, animal products, and even people may be restricted within the control area.
  • Surveillance procedures will be established in the control area to ensure that the outward spread of the virus is contained. Cooperation of affected farmers and the general public is critical to successful containment of this highly contagious disease.

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Animal Depopulation

  • Within the control area, all animals in infected herds—and perhaps even those in contact or at-risk herds—will be depopulated to prevent the virus from spreading to other animals.
  • Carcasses will be disposed of using methods such as burial, incineration, or composting, depending on local conditions.
  • USDA and state personnel will appraise and compensate owners for animals affected by or exposed to disease, and for materials required to be destroyed because of contamination or exposure to disease. The appraisals will be based on the animals' and materials' fair market value.

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Disinfection

  • Appropriate cleaning and disinfection measures are required to prevent humans and vehicles from spreading the virus from infected farms to other farms and livestock. Although the virus rarely affects people, individuals can carry it from one farm or facility to the next (e.g., on their persons, clothing, shoes, or vehicles). Milk trucks coming from an affected farm may also harbor the virus.
  • An affected farm or facility will be cleaned using washing agents and approved disinfectants to remove any trace of the virus in and around the livestock area, including the barn, house, and surrounding grounds. All potential sources of the virus must be removed before the affected farm can be restocked.

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Milk Disposal

  • Raw milk from FMD-infected cows will be disposed of on the affected farm under the supervision of animal health authorities.
  • Under an appropriate permit, raw milk may be moved off unaffected farms within the control area.

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Movement Restrictions in the Surveillance Area

  • State and federal officials will collaborate on the degree to which vehicle movement will be restricted. If a dairy processing plant is located within the surveillance area, these officials may impose appropriate restrictions on movement to and from the plant.

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(The steps described above were originally published in "Foot-and-Mouth Disease and the Dairy Industry's Emergency Preparedness" distributed by the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and supported by Dairy Management Inc., National Milk Producers Federation, International Dairy Foods Association, and the US Dairy Export Council.)

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Last modified October 06 2010 09:09 PM

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