The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) Division of Animal Health conducted an exercise December 17-20 to test the state’s preparedness for a foreign animal disease outbreak. KLA joined KDA, other state agencies, federal and local government officials, a number of industry organizations and several other states in the functional exercise that involved a simulated foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Kansas and six additional states. In addition to those taking part at KDA headquarters in Manhattan, which served as the incident command post for the exercise, six Kansas counties activated emergency operation centers. About 300 individuals participated in the event.
The exercise involved scenarios requiring decisions about the permitted movement of animals and depopulation of livestock to stop the spread of the disease. The current U.S. bank contains only enough vaccine for a small, confined FMD outbreak. Preparation of a ready-to-administer vaccine currently would take weeks.
Kansas leads the nation in foreign animal disease planning and training. Responding to a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak will require strong cooperation between government and private industry to stop the spread of the disease and return to normal business in the livestock industry as quickly as possible.