In the wake of the recent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the United Kingdom, researchers at the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance (CADMS) at the University of California — Davis, ask livestock producers to participate in an on-line survey. The goal of the survey is to collect information for a computer simulation model that will help predict how foot-and-mouth would spread in the US and identify the best control strategies for containment.        

The online survey was first launched in 2006. "It is very important that we get as many responses as possible from producers so we can determine the best containment strategy and stop FMD in its tracks,” says Tim Carpenter, professor of veterinary epidemiology and primary investigator for the study. 

The new version of the survey consists of nine questions about animal and people movements on and off the farm and takes only about five to 10 minutes to complete. Dairy, swine and goat producers are especially encouraged to participate. 

FMD is a highly contagious animal disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, such as beef cattle, swine, sheep, goats and deer. “The recent outbreak in the UK is a stark reminder that foot-and-mouth can strike the United States at any time,” says Carpenter. Because they have up-to-date databases of premises locations and animal movements, animal health authorities in the UK have been able to quickly identify and isolate infected and at risk premises without having to cull massive number of livestock and without restricting animal movements in other parts of the country.

The impact of animal disease outbreaks is cause for concern from both social and economic standpoints. A FMD outbreak in 2001 cost the agriculture industry in the United Kingdom more than $5 billion. “In the United States, the economic impact of an outbreak is estimated to be as high as $13 billion,” Carpenter says. “By answering our short survey and forwarding it to others, livestock producers can help us prevent this from happening in the United States.”

The online survey can be found at: http://www.fmdsurvey.com

CADMS guarantees that all the information will be kept confidential and will only be used for modeling purposes. The survey is part of a research study funded by the Department of Homeland Security and the NationalCenter for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense.

AgNewsWire