Humanitarian Resource Institute:  A U.S. & International Resource on the Scope of Humanitarian Assistance
November 6, 2003

Stephen M. Apatow
Director of Research and Development 
Humanitarian Resource Institute Biodefense Reference Library
Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Center
Eastern USA: (203) 668-0282   Western USA: (775) 884-4680


The objective of immediate access to the logistical apparatus required to contain outbreaks of geoeconomic importance has prompted discussion regarding the development of an International Rapid Response Strategy (IRRS) where resources from all OIE member countries could be tapped to support containment and control of outbreaks involving high consequence agents (OIE List A).

Following the dissemination of the discussion paper "US FMD Policy Questions" to veterinary public health experts across the United States, the following phase I review was compiled as an initial assessment of the current Federal Response Plan for Foot and Mouth Disease:

1. The depopulation of 48 million animals (Crimson Sky Model) will present significant challenges due to an overwhelming virus introduction and thus, business continuity will become an issue during an eradication of the disease.
2.  The contingency planning from USDA may bring vaccine in all cases where major ag states are affected but the resources and capability are lacking to the point that it is still an impossible to implement in a bioterror-as-the-hazard scenario.  Though vaccination is seen as a strategy, for practical limitations (such as vaccine availability) it may not be feasible for anything beyond a highly circumscribed outbreak (which nobody in-the-know seems to think is a plausible scenario for FMD in the US).  So we may face a situation where we are authorized to vaccinate, but where we will not have the logistical capability to accomplish it.  In the end, that is not much different than simply having an edict to_not_vaccinate in the first place.
3. There is an immediate need for a strategy that encompasses a vaccination and testing policy, allowing control measures to continue and possible regionalization for market stability. This requires the immediate need for infrastructure optimization as well as a public relations strategy to educate Americans regarding the safety of the food supply.
4. There appears to be a consensus that current contingency plans would not only exterminate FMD, if it hit the agricultural industry hard, but also segments of the industry itself!

In the context of these challenges, Humanitarian Resource Institute disseminated a request for progress reports from the directorate level of federal, state and county administrative leadership that requests an analysis of Tripartite Exercise 2000 challenges with an objective of review, assessment of current levels of preparedness and consensus regarding appropriate contingency plans.

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