With the United States on heightened alert for terrorist attacks, veterinarians have been asked to increase surveillance for foreign animal disease. Veterinarians need to be particularly aware of any indication that could signal the existence of a highly contagious disease or any other unusual or unexplained adverse animal health event.
Veterinarians can turn to several sources for helpful information. The Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services has issued a communications plan for animal-specific threats, which can be read at www.avma.org/press/biosecurity/USDA_VS_Communications_Plan_030318.pdf. The USDA has also prepared information outlining steps that can be taken to prevent or respond to a food supply threat, at www.usda.gov/homelandsecurity/homeland.html.
The Emergency Operations Center of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a lending library of foreign animal disease slides and other foreign animal disease reference materials; call (800) 601-9327.
The AVMA has recently compiled and posted online an extensive list of credible disaster preparedness links to state resources and animal health organizations. The links include online training courses. Log on to www.avma.org/disaster/resources.asp and www.avma.org/press/biosecurity/resources.asp. The AVMA has also updated its disaster preparedness series of educational materials; go to www.avma.org/disaster or contact Dr. Cindy S. Lovern, AVMA assistant director of emergency preparedness and response, (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6632, firstname.lastname@example.org.