The Veterinary Services branch of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is recruiting nonfederal veterinarians and veterinary technicians to assist in the exotic Newcastle disease eradication program in California and Nevada.
The volunteers would become Veterinary Services employees for 23 to 60 days to assist in the program, and would join the agency's National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps. Veterinary students can qualify as veterinary technicians and be mobilized.
The program's purpose is to enroll veterinary personnel interested in serving as VS employees in the event of an outbreak or other animal disease event, to preprocess some of their administrative paperwork for employment, to include them in training opportunities, and to better disperse VS program information.
According to Dr. Ty Vannieuwenhoven, 365 veterinarians and 70 veterinary technicians have registered to be NAHERC volunteers, but more are needed, and there is a particular shortage of technicians.
Over the past two years, veterinary professionals enrolled in this program have assisted the United Kingdom with its foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, and Virginia with its low-pathogenic avian influenza control program. More than 250 NAHERC members have responded to requests for assistance and been activated so far.
Contact your Veterinary Services area office, listed on the APHIS Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/area_offices.htm. Other questions can be addressed to EmergencyVMO@aphis.usda.gov.