What if foot-and-mouth hit here?

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What if foot-and-mouth hit here?

By Betsy Freese Livestock Editor Successful Farming magazine

Let's hope this never happens, but what if there is a confirmed case of foot-and-mouth disease on a hog finishing unit, say, in Webster County, Iowa, for example?

State veterinarian John Schiltz would be in the bull's-eye of activity if the disease hit. Iowa's emergency action plan for foot-and-mouth disease is still being modified, but Schiltz shares this outline of steps.

1. Create hot zone A 5-mile high-risk quarantine zone would be drawn around the infected farm. This would be surrounded by a 15-mile buffer zone.

"We would try to be both conservative and aggressive," says Schiltz. "We are going to throw a darn big net to contain it."

2. Restrict movement Roadblocks would be set up in the 15-mile quarantine zone and all animal and human movement would be "severely restricted," says Schiltz. Vehicles coming in or out of the area would be stopped and disinfected.

As for the family on the infected farm, they would most likely not be able to leave the farm. Children would not be able to attend school. Social events, baseball tournaments, and other activities within the quarantined area "would have to be curtailed," says Schiltz. "We don't say this lightly, because it's tough when you take away people's civil liberties."

3. Start tracing back Traceback would begin immediately. Who has been in and out of that farm recently? Was the feed truck there in the past few days? Where did it go next? Did the farmer take any livestock to market in the past few days? Where? All livestock auction markets within the 15-mile buffer zone would be closed and quarantined.

4. Kill and dispose An order will be given for the immediate depopulation of the infected herd. The preferred method would be death by injection, and then disposal by burying on the farm. However, other methods of depopulation and disposal would be considered, including using a captive bolt to kill the infected animals (it's faster than injection) and burning for disposal.

5. Va c cinate? It is possible that non-infected animals within the 15-mile quarantine zone would be vaccinated to stop the spread of the disease, says Schiltz. Vaccination for foot-and-mouth is not allowed in the U.S. and would require an appeal to the USDA. The vaccine would have to be delivered from Plum Island off the coast of New York.

The vaccinated animals would eventually have to be killed, too, but it might help stop the spread of the disease. "It would be foolhardy not to consider vaccination," says Schiltz. "In a livestock-dense state like Iowa, I don't want to take out any option."

If this emergency action plan sounds harsh, that's because it has to be, says Schiltz. "We will respond quickly, decisively and effectively. We'll be giving it all we've got. I just hope we don't have to use it." 04/13/2001 10:19 a.m.CDT


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 16, 2001


To look at Great Britain and take note of how there economy is being decimated by the disease we would have to take draconian measures to keep it from spreading if it ever cropped up anywhere. Great Britain's tourism is suffering even more than there agricultural in terms of British sterling lost.

We haven't had hoof and mouth since 1929. U.S. ranchers are probably quaking in there boots. It may not affect humans physically but it can be just as devastating as an 8.9 earthquake if it hits your method of earning a living. Maybe you can insure your herd against something like this I don't know.

-- Guy Daley (guydaley@altavista.com), April 16, 2001.

There's possibly something more sinister going on here. Since when does a non life-threatening disease give the government reason to inact marshall law? Admittedly, this is supposedly only to be administered in "hot" locallized areas. But if and when it occurs, how are we to know if the disease exists there or not? It's too late, when your rights are gone, to be finding out the truth about this debocle/plan.

-- Ken (n4wind@sonic.net), April 16, 2001.

04/17/2001 - Updated 12:13 AM ET Foot-and-mouth 'probable' in U.S.

By Jim Drinkard, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON Federal emergency officials are preparing for a U.S. outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, a prospect they see as highly likely. About 75 federal officials from agencies ranging from the Agriculture Department to the CIA met Wednesday to review plans for addressing an outbreak of the highly infectious animal virus. The group also included officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army's biological warfare office, the Coast Guard, the Interior Department and the Food and Drug Administration. FEMA official Bruce Baughman said the plans call for treating an outbreak much the same as a natural disaster, in which states take primary responsibility and call on federal resources as needed. "We are certainly treating it like it's a probable likelihood," he said.

Others present at the meeting said the chances that the disease will spread to the United States were described as very high, fueling an intensive planning effort. Until now, the government has focused in its public statements on efforts to keep the disease from reaching the United States.

At last week's meeting, officials described arrangements for earth- moving equipment to bury thousands of animal carcasses, and the drafting of emergency orders that could suspend some environmental regulations to allow quick burial of afflicted livestock.

Inquiries about the government's assessment of the risk of a U.S. outbreak of the disease were referred to Cliff Oliver, who is heading emergency response plans for the Agriculture Department. Telephone calls to his home Monday night were unanswered.

Later, USDA spokesman Kevin Herglotz described the meeting as a standard planning session and said his department does not believe an outbreak is inevitable.

"I was in the military for 10 years. We did mock exercises every month. That didn't mean war was imminent," he said. Herglotz didn't attend the meeting but says he was briefed on it.

Foot-and-mouth disease affects pigs, cattle and other cloven-hoofed animals but is not generally harmful to humans.

The United States has not had a case of foot-and-mouth disease since 1929. In England, the current outbreak began in February and quickly spread.

Cases also have been confirmed in the Netherlands, France and Ireland. Recent outbreaks have occurred in Saudi Arabia, Argentina, South Korea and Taiwan.

The U.S. government has added hundreds of inspectors at airports and ports in an effort to keep the disease out, but the battle is made more difficult because of booming global travel and trade


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 17, 2001.

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