July 2019 ADBCAP Newsletter

Farm barns and a fence around a pasture

Biosecurity and surveillance are complementary. Health surveillance in human, plant, or animal contexts involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting health-related data. These data then inform what is done in terms of health programs and strategic communication. National surveillance systems often rely on the reporting of diagnoses of certain diseases to regulatory agencies. However, agricultural industries can find value in sharing disease incidence data for diseases that do not require reporting to regulatory authorities.

The Morrison Swine Health Reporting Program based at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine arose out of an attempt to determine the incidence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) among sow farms. This disease is a viral disease of variable virulence that may result in abortions or pneumonia. Although not a nationally notifiable disease, PRRS is the most economically significant disease of the US swine industry. This voluntary, information-sharing surveillance program is unique among animal industries and has been extended to include additional diseases.

Julie Smith DVM, PhD, is a research associate professor at the University of Vermont. Julie received her B.S. in Biological Sciences, D.V.M., and Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition at Cornell University. Since joining the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in 2002, she has applied her veterinary background to programs in the areas of herd health, calf and heifer management, and agricultural emergency management. She is responsible for teaching the undergraduate Animal Welfare class required of majors in her department. Julie has conducted trainings for Extension educators, livestock producers, and community members on the risks posed by a range of animal diseases, whether they already exist in the United States, exist outside of the United States, or pose a risk to both animal and human health. In all cases, she emphasizes the importance of awareness and prevention. As a veterinarian and spouse of a dairy farmer, Julie is well aware of the animal health and well-being concerns of dairy animals. She is currently leading the ADBCAP, a multi-species, multi-state project looking at the human behavioral aspects of implementing practices to protect animal health and food security.

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