Appendix D
Animal Diseases and Their Vectors

The following conclusions were drawn in the NRC report Countering Agricultural Bioterrorism (NRC, 2003a):

  1. Some animal diseases are of greater economic than public health importance. Even though significant public health impacts could in principle result from intentional introduction of animal diseases, their spread would likely be minimized by regulatory bans and procedures.

  2. Limitations of current diagnostic tests and current understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of specific animal diseases may make these diseases suitable for use in hoaxes.

  3. Regulatory controls can substantially reduce the likelihood of natural introduction of some animal diseases.

  4. Because some animal diseases are not highly contagious, selective culling would be possible if we had sensitive on-the-hoof preclinical diagnostic tools.

  5. Development of effective diagnostic and identification tools for the animal diseases of concern warrants a high research priority today.

  6. Basic-science and technology programs will have broad application in protecting us from harm.

  7. Effective public information materials should be drafted in advance of natural or terrorist introduction of animal diseases of concern into the United States, so that they will be available immediately whenever needed.

  8. The threat of an animal disease as an agricultural terrorist agent will be limited by factors such as



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 255
Animal Health at the Crossroads: Preventing, Detecting, and Diagnosing Animal Diseases Appendix D Animal Diseases and Their Vectors The following conclusions were drawn in the NRC report Countering Agricultural Bioterrorism (NRC, 2003a): Some animal diseases are of greater economic than public health importance. Even though significant public health impacts could in principle result from intentional introduction of animal diseases, their spread would likely be minimized by regulatory bans and procedures. Limitations of current diagnostic tests and current understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of specific animal diseases may make these diseases suitable for use in hoaxes. Regulatory controls can substantially reduce the likelihood of natural introduction of some animal diseases. Because some animal diseases are not highly contagious, selective culling would be possible if we had sensitive on-the-hoof preclinical diagnostic tools. Development of effective diagnostic and identification tools for the animal diseases of concern warrants a high research priority today. Basic-science and technology programs will have broad application in protecting us from harm. Effective public information materials should be drafted in advance of natural or terrorist introduction of animal diseases of concern into the United States, so that they will be available immediately whenever needed. The threat of an animal disease as an agricultural terrorist agent will be limited by factors such as

OCR for page 255
Animal Health at the Crossroads: Preventing, Detecting, and Diagnosing Animal Diseases Difficulty in obtaining or producing the agent. Physical and biological security of the plants that manufacture animal feeds, animal medicinals, and vaccines. Regulatory actions. An active national surveillance program. Vulnerability to animal disease as an agricultural terrorist threat agent is increased by Limited effectiveness of border controls (for example, inspection procedures that are not developed with terrorists in mind, with a small proportion of luggage inspected at ports of entry). The small number and low sensitivity of diagnostic tests to detect an agent in living animals or animal tissues. A high resistance of an agent to inactivation by physical and chemical treatments. Lack of full compliance with regulations in place to control or eradicate the disease. A long incubation period from exposure to onset of disease, which would allow time for terrorists to escape detection and for wide dissemination of infected animals before discovery. An unwarranted degree of public concern over the disease, which could leverage a small number of cases or a hoax into an event with major adverse economic, social, and political effects. Modern molecular field tests for animal diseases of concern need to be validated and introduced by USDA regionally and encouraged locally. Vaccine stocks for animal diseases of concern need to be modernized and expanded. Research should be performed to develop vaccines suitable for specific disease subtypes. The United States should investigate the global eradication of those animal diseases posing significant threats and cooperate with international agricultural and wildlife experts in doing so. A continuing international mechanism to identify measures needed for global eradication of particular diseases should be established. Through such a mechanism, a global vaccination and eradication strategy could be developed with the participation of diverse experts and stakeholders. This could be a win-win situation for the United States and for other countries. Widespread distribution of potential vector species increases the potential public health and economic impacts of a zoonotic disease. It is essential for an effective response to have in place an infrastructure of disease surveillance and response systems, as well as cooperation and communication among agricultural, wildlife, and public health organizations.

OCR for page 255
Animal Health at the Crossroads: Preventing, Detecting, and Diagnosing Animal Diseases Early detection and diagnostic tools are pivotal for limiting the extent of an outbreak. Education, limitation of animal movement, and development of vector population control methods are other important factors. Basic research is critical for understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of many animal diseases.