Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is sending a delegation to South America to investigate eradicating Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Western Hemisphere by 2010.
Dean of the college, Ralph Richardson and Associate Dean, Lisa Freeman will travel to Paraguay on October 17-24 to meet with Dr David Ashford, assistant area and regional director at the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Rio De Janeiro.
In addition, Ashford coordinates foot-and-mouth disease cases in South America and is liaison to the Pan American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Centre.
South America experienced a major foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001 in northern Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil when 20,000 animals were slaughtered. An estimated US $35 million was lost in exports of fresh meat. Officials had established that the regional investments in immunisation, surveillance and prevention of the disease had been lowered.
“Although the US has not experienced any FMD mouth outbreaks since 1929, the country is not immune to the animal disease. Diligence must be exercised in monitoring and prevention. The cost of the alternative is too high,” he said.
With this in mind, Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine administrators are supporting Manhattan’s bid to become home to the National Bio and Agro-defence Facility (NBAF), which is a large federal lab studying animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth and developing vaccines.
“It would assist the college in keeping up to date with the most recent research and preventative measures known to the USDA,” according to Richardson.
Richardson and Freeman will work on creating a system of externships and field experiences for undergraduate, graduate and professional students as Dr Ashford is, according to Freeman, “extremely enthusiastic about involving Kansas State University students and industry leaders along the animal health corridor in the Kansas City region in an effort to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease.”