Disease and Other
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has a
strong system in place for detecting and responding
to outbreaks of foreign animal diseases, including
foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), in the United States.
This system begins with a cadre of USDA-certified pri-
vate veterinary practitioners who partner with livestock
producers and APHIS to report any suspected foreign
animal disease cases to State and Federal officials.
When a possible case of a foreign animal disease
is reported, APHIS works with the State involved
to immediately dispatch one of the more than 400
specially trained foreign animal disease diagnosti-
cians to the scene. The diagnostician is responsible
for collecting disease samples from affected animals
and establishing initial quarantines. The samples are
immediately transported to APHIS’ National Veterinary
Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, or to
NVSL’s Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Labo-
ratory (FADDL) on Plum Island, NY, for diagnosis.
Samples from foreign animal disease investigations
receive immediate attention at these facilities. Initial
diagnostic results are often available within 24 hours
of sample collection.
Responding to a Foreign Animal Disease Detection
If APHIS laboratory officials confirm that the sample
is indeed positive for a foreign animal disease agent,
APHIS and State animal health officials immediately
begin investigating the source and trace all animals
that may have come into contact with the disease.
These officials apprise other State and Federal coun-
terparts of the status of their investigation and initiate
emergency response efforts at the State and local
level. Factors such as high mortality and morbidity as
well as other signs consistent with a foreign animal
disease prompt APHIS emergency response teams