Beef Buzz News
Threats Posed by FMD Outbreak Potentially Catastrophic, NCBA Insists a Vaccine Bank is Imperative
Wed, 06 Sep 2017 11:33:45 CDT
One foreign animal disease that will keep producers up at night - is Foot and Mouth Disease. According to Dr. Kathy Simmons, chief veterinarian for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, FMD has not appeared in the United States since 1929. But if it ever did show up again, Simmons tells Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, the highly contagious, infectious viral disease could potentially wreak havoc on US livestock and wildlife populations.
Listen to Simmons and Hays discuss the importance of being prepared for an FMD outbreak, below.
"Our swine populations, our cattle populations, goats, some wildlife will all be at risk," she said, trying to explain that FMD only endangers cloven-hooved, or two-toed animals, and poses no actual health risk to humans. "So, we need to be prepared."
Simmons explains that depopulation used to be the answer to controlling an FMD outbreak, because livestock populations at the time were much smaller than they are today. Now, if FMD was found in a feedyard with 100,000 head of cattle - depopulation would no longer be a viable option. Instead, vaccines have become more commonplace in the modern era. However, FMD vaccine is limited in its production around the world and is complex - in the sense that there are multiple strains of the disease and no one cross-protection from them all. If FMD were to ever appear in the US, it could be catastrophic to the livestock industry and the agricultural economy throughout. Currently, Simmons reports that NCBA is working with other livestock groups like the pork industry, to lobby for funding to establish a modernized vaccine bank with adequate supplies in preparation for an untimely emergency, looking at the next Farm Bill as a vehicle for that necessary funding.
"We need to prepare now," Simmons said, "because, we may not be able to buy our way out of it if we're in a crisis."
Listen to NCBA's Dr. Kathy Simmons and Farm Director Ron Hays discuss the importance of having a vaccine bank made available for the potentiality of an FMD outbreak in the US, on today's Beef Buzz.
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