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Emerging Animal Diseases: Global Markets, Global Safety - A Workshop Summary 8 Summary Speakers noted that recent actions taken by the United States to control emerging diseases, including new regulations, tightened border controls, and increased inspections, have had positive results, particularly in keeping out BSE, or “mad cow disease.” However, they noted that in this age of globalization and constant changes in demographics and the environment, the nation remains vulnerable to outbreaks of animal diseases, which could occur at any time. Thus, proper planning and preparation are crucial, they stressed. Some of the key areas as noted by speakers where more attention needs to be focused include: Surveillance and monitoring A multitude of surveillance and monitoring systems for tracking animal diseases exist, but these systems could be better coordinated and more functional. In addition, strategies that encourage the participation of producers should be developed, so that diseases and pathogens can be more easily tracked to their source. Research and development Much progress already is being made, but more is needed, in research and development of diagnostic tools that are portable, quick, accurate, and flexible, as well as “smart vaccines” that can stop diseases in their tracks and enable us to distinguish between an animal that is infected versus one that has been vaccinated. Awareness The general public may not recognize the value of agriculture and the tremendous economic impact that a foreign disease
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Emerging Animal Diseases: Global Markets, Global Safety - A Workshop Summary incursion could have on the nation. The individuals on the first line of defense—the producers, veterinarians, and processors—have inadequate training in recognition of many diseases. An educational campaign to increase awareness and to train the first line of defense could have far-reaching impacts. Laboratory infrastructure There was concern about the ability of state and federal laboratories to run a large number of tests in the event of an outbreak such as the one that occurred in the United Kingdom. Additionally, state diagnostic laboratories may benefit from improved information and partnering during technology development. Confidentiality It is possible that the handling of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests will need to be reevaluated in light of producers’ fears about disclosures that could cause them to be targeted by regulators, extremist groups, or disgruntled consumers. Coordination and communication For all of these issues, stronger communication, collaboration, and cooperation is encouraged, with involvement of all stakeholders—federal and state agencies, academics, and industry. Only with the synergy provided through collaboration can the significant gaps in the system be effectively addressed.
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