Wichita County, Kansas, provides an example of a broad-based, local community prepared to prevent or detect an animal disease outbreak (intentional or nonintentional). Social and public health professional representatives of law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services (EMS), county commission, chamber of commerce, county extension, and Farm Service Agency joined the animal health community of veterinarians, pharmaceutical representatives, livestock producers, and others interested and potentially impacted in the economy. Coordinating this widespread committee was first prompted by the threat of agroterrorism or a foreign animal disease outbreak. Many representatives had never met each other and were not aware of one another’s concerns and issues. Over 6 months, the committee developed and implemented a preparedness emergency plan for the county that subsequently became the model for all counties in the state.
Major components of the plan are:
nificantly enhance animal disease prevention, detection, and diagnostic capabilities for the United States. Despite a recent surge in activity related to post-September 11 homeland security efforts and associated focused funding, the active review and implementation of advancing technologies is inadequate to protect and enhance the health of the country’s animal populations and related economies. Existing technological advances, such as immune system modulators, animal-embedded monitoring (chips embedded underneath an animal’s skin to monitor temperature and other physiological indices), and differential vaccines as prevention strategies, as well as a range of rapid, automated, sensitive, and portable sampling and assay systems for early warning and reliable diagnosis, are not adequately exploited by the current animal health framework. Early biodefense warning systems, such as DHS’s BioWatch or private industry’s