Most animal handlers and others working and living with animals on a day-to-day basis are not health professionals and acquire their knowledge about animal disease through one or more means, such as from their veterinarian, employer, the Internet, industry magazines, commodity organizations, and extension programs offered by universities, government, or producer organizations. By definition, extension agencies are well positioned to take the initiative to provide appropriate training programs, but would probably require additional support to develop such instruction, given competing priorities and a challenging budgetary environment.
Wildlife agencies are expected to keep staff biologists and technicians adequately informed about disease issues. Hunters and naturalists can get information from societies dedicated to their interest or hobby through print, meetings, and the Internet.
An outbreak of animal disease can have significant economic, social, and human health effects, although these effects vary considerably depending on the nature of the disease and the specific outbreak. Some animal diseases can have significant effects on markets. These include direct impacts on lost production and farm income, unintended costs to adjust from lost output, sector and community losses in welfare, and impacts on markets (prices) and trade. Consumers may lose confidence in the safety of meat and other food products, and this loss of confidence can contribute to a decrease in prices as well as lack of trust in public authorities. The potential for market and other impacts of an actual or threatened animal disease outbreak points to the importance of accurate and ongoing communication with consumers, producers, and the general public. Increasing dependence on trade can increase the volatility of prices. With the confirmed cases BSE in Canada in May 2003 and the Canadian-U.S. border closed to live cattle trade and only limited meat trade, U.S. beef prices rose by over 26 percent in 2003. After discovery of a BSE case in the United States in December 2003, U.S. beef prices fell by nearly 11 percent. The world beef trade declined by an estimated 2.5 percent in 2004 (Beghin et al., 2004). A recent review of studies of the economic impact of transboundary animal diseases indicates significant losses caused by the perceived threat of transboundary animal disease and control efforts. The studies include losses to Uruguay of added trade revenue estimated up to $90 million per year from the presence of FMD (1996) and losses in the