Appendix C
Brief History of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center

The development of biocontainment facilities for the study of animal diseases is historically associated with the need to provide diagnostic and research capabilities to deal with a potential outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States.

There have been nine outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States: in 1870 in New England and New York; in 1880 (in imported animals controlled before release of the animals); in 1884 in Maine; in 1902 in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont; in 1908 in Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania; in 1914 (the most extensive outbreak) in the District of Columbia and 22 states—Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin; in 1924 in California; in 1924 in Texas; and in 1929 in California.

During those years, diagnosis of foot-and-mouth disease was based on experimental animal inoculations in affected areas in the field. No laboratory work with foot-and-mouth disease virus was permitted in the United States after the eradication of the last cases in 1929.

In December 1946, foot-and-mouth disease type A was diagnosed for the first time in Mexico in the state of Veracruz. On February 28, 1947, Public Law (PL) 80-8 (S. 568) authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to cooperate with the government of Mexico in the control and eradication of foot-and-mouth disease. A cooperative program started on March 27, 1947. Early in the campaign, it was necessary to use vaccination for the control of foot-and-mouth disease. Vaccine was first purchased from Europe because all vaccines from South America were of types O and C. Later, the vaccine was produced in Mexico. These foot-and-



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Appendix C Brief History of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center The development of biocontainment facilities for the study of animal dis- eases is historically associated with the need to provide diagnostic and research capabilities to deal with a potential outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States. There have been nine outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States: in 1870 in New England and New York; in 1880 (in imported animals controlled before release of the animals); in 1884 in Maine; in 1902 in Massa- chusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont; in 1908 in Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania; in 1914 (the most extensive outbreak) in the District of Columbia and 22 states—Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indi- ana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin; in 1924 in Califor- nia; in 1924 in Texas; and in 1929 in California. During those years, diagnosis of foot-and-mouth disease was based on ex- perimental animal inoculations in affected areas in the field. No laboratory work with foot-and-mouth disease virus was permitted in the United States after the eradication of the last cases in 1929. In December 1946, foot-and-mouth disease type A was diagnosed for the first time in Mexico in the state of Veracruz. On February 28, 1947, Public Law (PL) 80-8 (S. 568) authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to cooperate with the government of Mexico in the control and eradication of foot-and-mouth disease. A cooperative program started on March 27, 1947. Early in the campaign, it was necessary to use vaccination for the control of foot-and-mouth disease. Vaccine was first purchased from Europe because all vaccines from South America were of types O and C. Later, the vaccine was produced in Mexico. These foot-and- 123

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124 CRITICAL LABORATORY NEEDS FOR ANIMAL AGRICULTURE mouth disease research activities demonstrated the need to have biosecure labo- ratories in the United States where this type of research could be conducted. A few years before the Mexican outbreak, the US Department of Agricul- ture (USDA) had established a robust research program on foot-and-mouth dis- ease and other foreign animal diseases through cooperative agreements with foreign laboratories, particularly those at the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Institute in Pirbright, England; the State Veterinary Research Institute in Am- sterdam, Holland; the Danish Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Institute in Lindholm, Denmark; and the Swiss Federal Vaccine Institute in Basel. Each of those laboratories hosted one or two USDA scientists. However, Congress and the animal industries felt that the research based in foreign laboratories was in- adequate for US needs and prompted discussions about the authorization of the establishment of a laboratory in the United States “to conduct research on foot- and-mouth disease and other diseases of animals” (PL 80-496 (Sec. 2038)), which culminated in the approval of PL 80-496 on April 24, 1948. The law pro- vided an annual operating budget of $3 million “to cover employment of 50 trained scientists, 200 people to handle the animals, and 200 employees of vari- ous classes; animals to conduct the experiments (including 1,200 cattle); and supplies, materials and travel” (S. Rep. No. 211, 80th Cong., 2d Sess. (1948)). Congress also required laboratory safety conditions more stringent than those in the European foot-and-mouth disease laboratories, following standards devel- oped by the National Institutes of Health laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland, ensuring that all animal experimentation would take place in completely en- closed animal rooms isolated from each other. To implement PL 80-496, Congress approved the use of up to $30 million for the entire cost of establishment of a foot-and-mouth disease laboratory by USDA’s Bureau of Animal Industries to be a coastal island separated from the mainland by deep, navigable water and not connected with the mainland by a tunnel… [with a] continuous supply of hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water daily… [and with] trans- portation facilities from the mainland for personnel, animals, and materials, uninterrupted by weather conditions (S. Rep. No. 211, 80th Cong., 2d Sess. (1948)). It should be noted that in 1990 (PL 101-624), Congress amended the origi- nal restrictions for working with live foot-and-mouth disease virus on the US mainland by declaring that such work was prohibited unless the Secretary determines that it is necessary and in the public interest for the conduct of research and study in the United States (except at Brook- haven National Laboratory in Upton, New York) and issues a permit under such rules as the Secretary shall promulgate to protect animal health…(21USC§113a).

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APPENDIX C 125 In 2008 (PL 110-234), the foot-and-mouth disease restrictions were amend- ed again to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to issue a permit to the Secre- tary of Homeland Security for work on the live virus of foot and mouth disease at any facility [with a limit of only one facility] that is a successor to the Plum Island Animal Dis- ease Center and charged with researching high-consequence biological threats involving zoonotic and foreign animal diseases...(PL 110-234, Title VII § 7524, May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1273). The search for a suitable location for a foot-and-mouth disease research fa- cility turned out to be a difficult task because of the site restrictions imposed by the Congressional language, and the process lingered until the appearance in 1952 of the first (and only) outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Saskatche- wan, Canada. At that time, the US Army Chemical Corps had initiated the reno- vation of buildings at Fort Terry, located on Plum Island, New York, to conduct chemical and biological research. Fort Terry had been in use by the Army since 1897 as an artillery coastal defense post. Eighteen buildings from the Fort Terry days were renovated by the Army Chemical Corps, including the Combined Torpedo Storehouse and Cable Tanks (circa 1911) building, later known as Building 257, to conduct biological experiments. In 1952, the Army decided to suspend operations at Fort Terry and to trans- fer Plum Island to USDA’s Bureau of Animal Industries. USDA scientists moved to the renovated Building 257 in 1953. Building of a new facility, to be known as Building 101, started on July 1, 1954, and the building was dedicated on September 26, 1956. The Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) was inaugurated; it occupied the new building, and the 18 Fort Terry-era buildings were renovated by the Army. In 1977, as PIADC was aging, a master plan for its modernization was completed. The plan included the construction of new facilities to house most of the functions that were in the repurposed Fort Terry post buildings and batteries. Much of the plan never materialized. In 1984, the diagnostic and training missions of PIADC were transferred from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The new unit, the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL), became one of the National Veteri- nary Services Laboratories. Most of the FADDL activities were confined to Building 257. At that time, ARS and APHIS entered into a mutual support agreement to share the expenses of the operation and maintenance of the PIADC facilities, with ARS as the lead agency in charge of PIADC. With the failure of the 1977 modernization plans, facilities remained essen- tially the same until a new study on facility modernization was developed in 1990. The age of Building 257 (over 80 years) and decreases in the number of research activities and personnel led to a modernization and consolidation of ARS and APHIS facilities, which was completed in 1995. As a result of the in-

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126 CRITICAL LABORATORY NEEDS FOR ANIMAL AGRICULTURE frastructure investments, a new administration building (Building 100) was completed and inaugurated; it was attached to the front of Building 101. The project also resulted in the remodeling of nearly two-thirds of the laboratory space in Building 101 and the decommissioning of Building 257 and most of the Fort Terry-era buildings on the island. Buildings 100 and 101 still house all combined operations for APHIS, ARS, and now the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In October 1991, all operations and maintenance were privatized and trans- ferred to a contractor under ARS supervision. In December 1994, an agreement was set in place to share leadership responsibility of PIADC by having the direc- torship cycle between ARS and APHIS every 5 years or on another agreed time- table. That agreement was never implemented, and ARS continued to provide the director until the transfer of PIADC to the newly formed DHS in June 2003. Today, DHS has oversight for administration and facility management and maintains operations of the facility in addition to having its own science pro- gram.