International Health Regulations in 2005 (WHO, 2007) and the revised list of notifiable diseases (see Table 2-1 in Chapter 2) and requirements for notification of emerging diseases by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE, 2010). Commensurate with those changes is an expectation that WHO and OIE member countries will have a reliable infrastructure for disease surveillance and response (Fidler, 2005; Baker and Fidler, 2006).
As noted in Chapter 2, a number of previous National Research Council (NRC) and IOM studies have addressed current threats to our nation’s health and welfare, including both FADs and zoonotic diseases (IOM, 2003). A recent IOM and NRC report, Sustaining Global Surveillance and Response to Emerging Zoonotic Diseases (2009), is of particular relevance and recommended several actions to strengthen the global capacity for addressing disease threats. The recommendations included improved use of information technology (Recommendation 1-2), a strengthened global laboratory network (Recommendation 1-3), and expanded human-resource capacity (Recommendation 1-4) to support disease surveillance and response (IOM and NRC, 2009). The recommendations for a global system apply equally to the framework for animal-disease surveillance and response within the United States, whether for zoonotic diseases or FADs. Protecting US animal agriculture requires a well-integrated system that spans authorities, geography, and many programs and activities. The idea that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link applies to the complex systems needed to protect animal agriculture from the incursion of serious diseases and to address a riskier world.
Critical Core Functions
The committee considered its task in the context of an integrated system in the United States for addressing FAD and zoonotic disease threats and the role of a national biocontainment laboratory in such a system. The ideal system would capture and integrate the substantial human and physical assets distributed throughout the nation to optimally address the threat of FADs and zoonotic diseases. It would include surveillance and detection, diagnostics, and disease response and recovery and would have research and development and training of the workforce as critical core elements to support each of these functional arms (see Figure 3-1). These elements would provide the capabilities needed to support multiple disease-control strategies, the choice of which is dependent on many factors such the likelihood of introduction to the United States, disease spread rates, and cost and effectiveness of control. A robust laboratory infrastructure underlies all those components. A national role in the coordination of the system is essential, and a federal laboratory or network of laboratories would be the cornerstone of the system. The ideal system would reach beyond our borders to tap the expertise and resources of the global infectious-disease surveil-