Iowa Plans For 'Likely' F/M
Outbreak - May Quarantine Families

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 likelihood."
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 include:
--Calling up the National Guard to work with the Iowa State Patrol to set up roadblocks leading to farms where animals have contracted the disease,
--The killing and burning of all livestock on affected farms,
--Confining farm families at quarantined farms to their homes, including an end to mail delivery and school bus pickups along gravel roads,
--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 reported.
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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