Pyres: 2001 UK FMD Outbreak - Photo: Murdo Macleod.  Slides L-R: Smallpox, SARS Coronavirus , Foot and Mouth Disease, West Nile Virus.
5 November 2003 12:00:00 Est  - Updated: 11 October 2012

Contact: Stephen M. Apatow
Founder, Director of Research & Development
Humanitarian Resource Institute (UN:NGO:DESA)
Humanitarian University Consortium Graduate Studies
Center for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine & Law
Phone: 203-668-0282


Pathobiologics International

Producers and Producer Organizations Overlooked in Contingency Planning Discussions on Biosecurity

A key point articulated at the 8th annual meeting of the Association of Veterinary Biologics Companies (AVBC) panel discussion * on "Bioterrorism and the Veterinary Biologics Industry" was if the United States was hit with a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak today, table top exercises conducted by the USDA have calculated potential spread to 39 states with the need for depopulation of  up to 48 million animals.  Associated with this discussion is the economic impact on the U.S., given that the agricultural sector contributes $1.5 trillion or 15% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The appropriate response to a challenge like FMD perplexed a vast majority of participants, because very little guidance to assist the industry with risk analysis and contingency planning, has been developed during the two year period following the 2001 UK FMD outbreak.  Though several high consequence pathogens were discussed during the keynote presentations, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) was identified by the speakers as the most important foreign animal disease that the USA must be prepared for (National Academies: Countering Agricultural Bioterrorism 2002).

During the 2001 UK FMD outbreak:

  • 10,472: (number of premises recorded on which animals have been or are due to be slaughtered, DEFRA, June 2003.)
  • 10,791,000 animals culled (Meat and Livestock Commission): the UK breeding flock was reduced by 13%  (in England alone, by 18%), the UK breeding cattle herd was reduced by 6%.
  • Economic cost: $20 billion (US) (Vannieuwenhoven , 2001 Convention News. American Veterinary Medical Association. Wednesday, July 18, 2001.)
"When planning for an FMD outbreak, the “worst-case” scenario is a large, multi-focus, country wide outbreak involving many dealers & markets – Not a single focus or several regionalized foci." -- Sec. European Commission for the Control of FMD

Javier Ekboir emphasized in the paper "Potential Impact of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in California: The role and contribution of animal health surveillance and monitoring services:"

  • If an outbreak is detected, the time required to diagnose FMD and initiate the appropriate measures will be crucial to determining the outbreak's ultimate effect. These measures would include a ban on all movements of susceptible animals that might have been exposed to other animals, contact tracing, prompt and rigid control of the movements of animals and animal products, vehicles, equipment and people in a surveillance area around any outbreak area. Successful eradication of the disease would require the commitment of government, livestock industries, farmer's organizations and the general public. Research has suggested that a one week delay could increase the proportion of infected premises from 18% to more than 90%.
  • The conditions under which alternative policies would be preferable should be evaluated in advance because once an outbreak has occurred, eradication strategies are largely irreversible.
  • Without strong support of producers and producers’ organizations, it is impossible to maintain proper surveil-lance and to conduct a successful eradication campaign.
The need for aggressive educational initiatives on the producer and producers organizational level is clear.


* Keynote Speakers AVBC 8th Annual Meeting, "Bioterrorism and the Biologics Industry" including Panel Discussion:

Stephen M. Apatow, President and Director of Research and Development, of the nonprofit organization Humanitarian Resource Institute, is a specialist in strategic planning and project development of initiatives associated with human medicine, veterinary medicine and U.S. and international law. Current programs include the internet based Biodefense Reference Library, Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Center, Bioinformatics: Pathobiological Diagnostics Center and Biodefense Legal Reference Library. Educational resource development for the veterinary and medical community include the Foreign Animal Disease Online Course and the Zoonotic Disease Online Review. To enhance collaboration between Humanitarian Resource Institute and the international community of scholars, the Humanitarian University Consortium was formed to enhance the development of initiatives associated with economic, social, cultural and humanitarian issues worldwide.  

David L. Huxsoll:  As an internationally recognized authority on biological warfare and former dean of Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, David Huxsoll was the first veterinarian to command the U. S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) where he developed a biological defense program that resulted in 19 new vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. In 1991, he was senior scientist on the first United Nations special-commission biologic inspection team to travel to Iraq, and later, led a second team there.  From 2000-2003, he served as director of the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) in Greenport, N.Y. and today continues his work as an educator and expert in the field of biodefense program development.

Mark W. McKim: Currently assigned as the Security Manager for USDA-Ames, Mark McKim served 20 years as an Anti-Terrorism Officer with the United States Navy.

Daniel T. Ruth:  Following general veterinary practice from 1973-1980, Daniel Ruth was director of clinical research for Pitman Moore, Washington Crossing, NJ (1980-1987) and then director of new product development at 3M Animal Care Products, St. Paul, MN (1987-2002).  Most recently he has served as a specialized consultant for the U.S. State Department promoting international business development and clinical research through innovative strategic initiatives utilizing bioweapons plants in the former Soviet Union.

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