The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health conducted an exercise December 16-18 to test the state’s preparedness for a foreign animal disease outbreak. KLA staff joined the Division of Animal Health, other state agencies, federal and local government officials and a number of other industry organizations in the functional exercise that involved a simulated foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease outbreak in Kansas. Department of Agriculture headquarters in Manhattan served as the incident command post for the exercise, with several Kansas counties activating emergency operation centers as well.
The exercise involved scenarios requiring decisions about the permitted movement of animals and depopulation of livestock to stop the spread of the highly contagious disease. The current U.S. vaccine 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 FMD 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.