Humanitarian Resource Institute:  A U.S. & International Resource on the Scope of Humanitarian Assistance

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

[see also:
Foot & mouth disease, preparedness - USA (05) 20010504.0863]

Date: 8 May 2001
From: Martin-Hugh Jones <>

[There is some information available on US preparedness regarding FMD.  However, lessons learned from other countries, things that have worked, and  things that need to be incorporated into a plan of this nature have been  discussed by a number of us in ProMED-mail, and several other agencies. Out of this discussion the following has developed. We do not present it as a  complete plan, but rather as a collection of necessary points to be  addressed immediately as part of any plan in the US. - Mods.TG/MHJ]

[1] Capability of slaughtering a diagnosed herd quickly (60% herds in the first 24 hours, 40% in the next 24 hours).

[2] Confirmed diagnosis, when necessary, within 3 hours of any sick animal's being seen. With presently available hand-held ELISA kits this should be possible even within 15 minutes, but we are allowing some slack. [We are amazed at the number of states that seem to be ignorant of this. - 

[3] Highly effective [100%] movement controls for all stock in controlled areas from the first hour.

[4] A compensation system, pre-agreed and acceptable to ranchers, producers, and owners, and guaranteed capability of compensation within 3 months of date of slaughter. It is regrettable that the majority of states 
do not have this in place. Many are greatly underestimating the value of animals, the lost production, the loss of feed, and the cost of restocking.

[5] Procedures in place and industry support for the rapid preemptive slaughter of high risk in-contact herds and flocks. Also, if slaughter is delayed beyond the normal incubation period and evidence of disease or 
infection is not seen, the culling decision can be rescinded.

[6] Rapid carcass disposal, complete within 5-6 days, regardless of the method. Domestic napalm may be the fastest and most appropriate means of disposal. Other systems should be explored. [See 10 below].

[7] Efficient tactical field support for predicting (a) where "it" came from; (b) where is "it" (which neighbors -- each with a probability rating -- may be incubating disease); (c) where will "it" next appear? Accurate 
and timely meteorological data is ESSENTIAL though often neglected. This tactical system must be capable of being updated as new data are acquired.

[8] "War-gaming" of all strategic and tactical folk within the previous 12-24 months. With rare exceptions, this has not happened. Unfortunately, the opportunity window for training may be closing. Disaster planning as a 
whole is woefully inadequate.

[9] Quartermaster support: sleeping, feeding, laundry, vehicle maintenance, mental health/chaplain, grief counselors. This is critical and often overlooked.

[10] Legal team and informed environmental team to instruct what can be done, where it can be done, and to head off troublemakers. This must function without downtime (e.g., no waiting for signatures, further 
permissions) and on the phone. Phone recorders may be necessary to maintain a record.

[11] Minimal necessary (phased) data to be collected using wireless data-loggers with GPS (Global Positioning System), including the information needed for tracing movements. In this way the master (common) database is updated in real time as work is completed. Once coupled with the meteorological and GIS data, this would provide the accurate GPS of locations and weather data crucial to success.

[12] Liaison team to keep press well informed but out from under the feet of workers. This is very important, but it is equally important not to hide information. GPS systems, meteorological data, and web sites with maps and real-time updating are most helpful to keep the flow of information open and timely. It is vitally important to support the farming community so that suspected new cases are called in quickly.

[13] Respect for human feelings, including those of the producers/owners of the animals. This is a tragic and traumatic time for them. It is no easier on the veterinarians, the slaughter-persons, and those charged with carcass disposal. Remember to provide rotation teams or time off so that these people can recuperate. It is appropriate to have grief counselors for these teams and for those who lose their animals.

[14] There is a vaccine; there is also a test which can differentiate between antibodies produced by vaccine and those produced by disease. It is critical and essential that pressure be put on the Paris-based Office 
International des Epizooties to ensure that the protective capacity of new vaccines is confirmed, that antibodies are produced, and that the new differentiating tests are available and standardized.

Martin Hugh-Jones
Dept. of Epidemiology & Community Health
School of Veterinary Medicine
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-8404, USA


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