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NMPF Praises USDA for FMD Preparedness with Initial Vaccine
USAgNet - 07/09/2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced Wednesday the initial purchase of vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB). APHIS will invest $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, which the Agency would use in the event of an outbreak to protect animals and help stop the spread of disease.

"While we are confident we can keep foot-and-mouth disease out of the country, as we have since 1929, having access to vaccine is an important insurance policy," said Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. "Vaccines could be an important tool in the event of an incursion of the disease in the U.S, but their use will depend on the circumstances of the incursion and require careful coordination with the affected animal industries."

Vaccination helps control the spread of infection by reducing the amount of virus shed by animals and by controlling clinical signs of illness. While an outbreak would temporarily disrupt international markets, vaccination would allow animals to move through domestic production channels. Foot-and-mouth disease is not a threat to public health or food safety. It is also not related to hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is a common childhood illness caused by a different virus.

The NAVVCB is one component of a three-part program established by the 2018 Farm Bill to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management. The new U.S.-only vaccine bank--a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stakeholders and industry--makes a much larger number of vaccine doses available than we currently have through the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank. APHIS will continue to participate in the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, and this new program adds to the nation's level of protection against this devastating disease. In the event of an outbreak, animal health officials would decide when, where and how to use the available vaccine, based on the circumstances of the outbreak.

The U.S. has not had an FMD outbreak since 1929. Still, recent foreign animal disease outbreaks in the U.S. of avian influenza and porcine epidemic diarrhea has focused attention on the importance of preparedness for other diseases, including FMD, for which outbreaks would have profound effects on international trade and animal health.

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