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US: Plea for national FMD vaccine bank

If it were down to the United States National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the US administration would have to reserve money to build a vaccine bank in case of a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak.

At the moment, the United States is free from Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). The country’s pig industry, however, realised its vulnerability for instance when Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) hit back in May 2013.

The FMD vaccine bank will have to be situated offshore. Photo: Shutterstock
The FMD vaccine bank will have to be situated offshore. Photo: Shutterstock

Daily animal transports

“Within weeks it was everywhere,” recalled David Herring, NPPC vice-president at the recent World Pork Expo in Des Moines, IA, United States. With many animal transports happening daily, there is no reason to expect things to go any differently in case FMD would occur.

In case of an outbreak would hit the US, it would be possible to use the supplies in this bank in at least the first 2 weeks.

Culling costs more than a vaccine bank

At the moment, in case of an outbreak, strains will have to be sent to Europe in order to have an emergency vaccine produced. This may take weeks, time that is simply non-existent when it comes down to protecting herds. Having to cull many herds preventively will cost the US livestock industry far more money than the investment of a vaccine bank, Herring told Pig Progress.

The timing of the plea is convenient as the US is starting with negotiations around a new Farm Bill. The NPPC would like to see an offshore FMD vaccine bank established. Iowa State University studies have pointed out the necessity; at least 10 million doses would be required to get through the first 2 weeks. An annual spending of $250 million would be necessary in funding.

Last known outbreak of FMD in USA

According to Wikipedia, the last known outbreak of FMD in the United States occurred in 1929 on a hog farm in California. At the time, 3,600 animals were slaughtered.

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