Veterinary Information Alert - Bioterrorism Involving Livestock
In light of the recent events in North America, governments and the public have a heightened awareness and concern about the possibility of bioterrorism involving agriculture, including livestock. This alert is not meant to cause panic or overstate the obvious. However, veterinarians and livestock owners may be the first to diagnose the early cases of a bioterrorist act in agriculture, as livestock can be sentinels of such an exposure. At the very least this note provides further points of contact for more information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States has produced a list of the most likely biological agents to be used in an act of bioterrorism (see excerpt below). Many of these are pathogens shared by humans and animals, and some have agricultural significance. Other agents of concern include Foreign Animal Diseases and other reportable diseases (such as Foot and Mouth Disease, Avian Influenza). Although many of the pathogens listed as possible bioterrorism agents would cause localised or sporadic disease, some may have serious public health or trade implications.
Veterinarians should remain current and vigilant for clinical signs consistent with any reportable or foreign animal disease, as well as unusual patterns or clusters of disease from the agents listed below. The Animal Health Laboratory (University of Guelph) and other diagnostic laboratories across Canada have been notified to be on alert for the detection of such agents. Diseases or clusters that might point to an exposure consistent with an act of bioterrorism could include: unusual demographic patterns, multiple species involvement, concurrent animal/public health problems, and unusual clusters of strains or serotypes. Points of contact for animal health information are listed below.
Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Number for veterinarians - 1 877
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Critical Biological
|Author:||Dr. David Alves - Manager, Veterinary Science and Policy/OMAFRA; Dr. Paul Innes - Lead Veterinarian, Provincial Biosecirity, Veterinary Science and Policy/OMAFRA|
|Creation Date:||October 2001|
|Last Reviewed:||30 September 2009|