- DES MOINES, Iowa,
April 17 (UPI) -- Iowa Agriculture Secretary Patty Judge and other state
officials Tuesday prepared for what they see as a likely outbreak of foot-and-mouth
disease in the United States.
- Among precautions being contemplated is the quarantine
of farm families in outbreak areas and the hunting down and killing of
deer, which can spread the disease.
- USA Today Tuesday reported Federal Emergency Management
Agency officials are treating the prospect of an outbreak as "a probable
- Officials from FEMA and about 75 other agencies ranging
from the Agriculture Department to the CIA met last Wednesday in Washington
to review plans for addressing an outbreak. FEMA spokesman Bruce Baughman
said the plans call for treating an outbreak much the same as a natural
disaster, in which states take primary responsibility and call on federal
resources as needed.
- Iowa officials said an outbreak of foot-and-month disease,
which affects pigs, cattle and other cloven-hoofed animals, could paralyze
the state's multibillion-dollar livestock industry. Symptoms include fever
and blister-like lesions or erosions on the tongue, lips or teats of affected
animals or between their hooves. The disease does not affect humans.
- It is difficult to estimate how widespread an epidemic
would become or how long it would last because the incubation period is
weeks and an infected animal can spread the disease long before it shows
symptoms, discharging the pathogens with each breath. Blood of diseased
carcasses retains their infective power for 30 days or more and marrow
bones remain virulent even longer.
- Judge said preparations have been under way for two weeks
for plans should foot-and-mouth show up in the state. Possible actions
- --Calling up the National Guard to work with the Iowa
State Patrol to set up roadblocks leading to farms where animals have contracted
- --The killing and burning of all livestock on affected
- --Confining farm families at quarantined farms to their
homes, including an end to mail delivery and school bus pickups along gravel
- --The shutdown of packing plans, putting thousands of
workers on furlough,
- --The hunting and killing of all deer within 15 miles
of affected farms and
- --Banning the export of meat for two years.
- State officials estimate an outbreak could cost the state's
57,000 cattle, hog and sheep producers as much as $9 billion a year as
long as foot-and-mouth is suspected in the state, the Des Moines Register
- The United States has not had a case of foot-and-mouth
disease since 1929. In England, the current outbreak began in February
and quickly spread. Cases also have been confirmed in the Netherlands,
France and Ireland. Recent outbreaks have occurred in Saudi Arabia, Argentina,
South Korea and Taiwan.
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