bilities of the framework’s many actors will need to be clearly defined and their actions better coordinated. Admittedly, the process of transformation is difficult during periods when disease outbreaks consume all attention. However, now is the time to strengthen the structure of the current system and to instigate a change in its culture, so that it will be capable of responding effectively in the future.

This report explores the evolving challenges facing animal health, identifies vulnerabilities and gaps in the animal health framework, and recommends steps needed to fill gaps and improve the effectiveness of the framework.


Recent animal and human health events have illustrated that the national system for protecting animal health is now facing a continuum of host-parasite relationships involving public health, wildlife, ecosystems, and food systems, operating in an increasingly complex global context (see Figure S-1). Adapting the current framework to this new reality will be both a major challenge and a national imperative.

In recognition of the changing influences on animal health, the National Academies developed a concept for a three-phase analysis of the U.S. system for dealing with animal diseases and committed institutional funds to launch the first phase of the study. This report, which embodies the first phase of the study, presents an overview of the animal health framework and examines the framework’s overall operation in the prevention, detection, and diagnosis of animal diseases. The proposed second phase of the study (pending supplemental external support) will focus on surveillance and monitoring capabilities, and the proposed third phase will focus on response and recovery from an animal disease epidemic. Although surveillance and monitoring play an important part in prevention, detection, and diagnosis, the second phase of the study, as currently envisioned, will analyze in greater depth the system’s capacity and needs for surveillance and monitoring of animal diseases.

Relative to its respective focus, each phase of the study will: (1) review the state and quality of the current system for dealing with animal disease; (2) identify key opportunities and barriers to successfully preventing and controlling animal diseases; and (3) identify immediate courses of action for those on the front lines.

This first phase of the study did not attempt an in-depth review of the effectiveness of each individual component of the framework or of any specific agency involved in safeguarding animal health—a task well beyond the scope of this effort—but did examine the effectiveness of the

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