Biosecurity and the need for change

U.S. agriculture infrastructure is vulnerable to significant damage from listed as well as emerging diseases.

With the advent of new and fast spreading animal and human diseases, combined with the need for stronger biosecurity measures dictated by potential terrorist threats, a move is underway worldwide to redesign the methods used to collect and report disease information and outbreaks.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), in cooperation with a number of animal, plant and human health stakeholders, including the World Health Organization (WHO), is developing a single, standardized list of reportable animal diseases and rules that outline who will be responsible for reporting those diseases, and describes how disease outbreaks are to be managed.

APHIS is asking U.S. stakeholders to review and comment on a proposed "United States National List of Reportable Animal Diseases (NLRAD)" and a "Proposed Framework for Response to Emerging Animal Diseases in the United States" by the January 16, 2015, comment deadline.

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The National List of Reportable Animal Diseases (NLRAD) will be a uniform, science -and policy-based, nationally supported standardized list of animal diseases. APHIS will provide the basis for consistent reporting with uniform case findings and reporting criteria.

This will facilitate national, interstate, and international commerce; assist in meeting international reporting obligations to the World Organization for Animal Health

(OIE) and trading partners; support the generation of export certifications; contribute to the assessment and reporting of listed zoonotic and endemic animal diseases; and facilitate response to an emerging disease or issue in the United States.

According to APHIS-Veterinary Services, the NLRAD will be implemented through Federal-State cooperation. Regulatory action will officially recognize the NLRAD and codify specific reporting requirements for State animal health officials, laboratory personnel, producers, and others.

Call for comments

According to a USDA-APHIS statement calling for stakeholder comments, the U.S. agriculture infrastructure is vulnerable to significant damage from listed as well as emerging diseases. The increased Federal authority for the NLRAD is designed to help animal health officials protect the U.S. agriculture infrastructure.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS), in collaboration with numerous stakeholders, developed the proposed NLRAD for the United States. The national list has been created through a deliberative process led by the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA)/American Association of

Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) Committee on Animal Health Information Systems (CAHIS), National Animal Health Reporting System (NAHRS) Steering Committee, and VS. The National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials and other stakeholders have supported these efforts and have been directly involved in developing the list.

The NLRAD list, Appendix A, is based on the OIE list of reportable diseases. It is intended to complement and supplement State reportable disease lists. The NLRAD will focus on agriculture and domestic animals. The significant role of wildlife on the epidemiology of domestic animal diseases is recognized; however, surveillance for wildlife diseases is carried out through multiple State and Federal agencies. State and Federal authority on reporting and control of diseases is primarily related to agriculture and domestic animals.

Comments are needed from stakeholder representatives and are requested from the following: pork, beef, dairy, small ruminant, avian/poultry, equine and aquatic industries. In addition, comments are sought from state animal health officials and from veterinary, wildlife and public health diagnostic laboratories and individual animal health officials at every level.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS), in collaboration with numerous stakeholders, developed the proposed NLRAD for the United States. The national list has been created through a deliberative process led by the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA)/American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) Committee on Animal Health Information Systems (CAHIS), National Animal Health Reporting System (NAHRS) Steering Committee, and VS. The National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials and other stakeholders have supported these efforts and have been directly involved in developing the list.

The NLRAD list, Appendix A, is based on the OIE list of reportable diseases. It is intended to complement and supplement State reportable disease lists. The NLRAD will focus on agriculture and domestic animals.

Wildlife concerns

The significant role of wildlife on the epidemiology of domestic animal diseases is recognized; however, surveillance for wildlife diseases is carried out through multiple State and Federal agencies. State and Federal authority on reporting and control of diseases is primarily related to agriculture and domestic animals.

APHIS-VS says the NLRAD will be identified through regulation as the official U.S. National List of Reportable Animal Diseases and has been initiated through the NAHRS as a cooperative effort. The Federal authority for the NLRAD is related to reporting of foreign animal diseases (FADs) and program diseases, the USDA Secretary’s authority in

controlling diseases under the Animal Health Protection Act, interstate transportation of diseased animals, accredited veterinarian animal disease reporting responsibilities. In addition, individual States have authority to require reporting. However, a gap currently exists in the United States in animal disease reporting; while requirements do exist for accredited veterinarians under Title 9, Code of Federal Regulations (9 CFR) 161.3(f), no other groups are specifically required to report cases of diagnosed or suspected cases of animal diseases. VS will move to address the gap in animal disease reporting by developing the NLRAD’s expanded authority through the regulatory process.

The second document to be reviewed and for which comments are encouraged is a Veterinary Services Proposed Framework for Response to Emerging Animal Diseases in the United States. Veterinary Services (VS) proposes a framework to help it respond

effectively to emerging diseases.

This framework will help VS identify and evaluate emerging disease events and define the appropriate responses. VS plans to work with all relevant stakeholders in implementing the appropriate responses. This framework document defines the process by which VS will identify, evaluate, and respond to emerging diseases, and the implementation of this process as a VS core business practice.

Stakeholders can access both the proposed NLRAD and the Veterinary Services Proposed Framework for Response for review:

These documents may also be found on the APHIS website. We are seeking stakeholder feedback on both documents. Please send your comments by January 16, 2015, to [email protected].

 

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