Animal Health

Emergency Preparedness Plans for Foreign Animal Disease

The introduction of a foreign animal disease can be catastrophic. It affects food security, international trade, rural economies and the wellbeing of farmers. Most countries are developing emergency preparedness plans to better respond to an outbreak. The Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) has a long history of working with state and federal agencies through public-private-academic partnerships on emergency preparedness and response plans for foreign animal disease outbreaks in the US.

The work CAHFS has done on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Foot and Mouth Disease on movement of agricultural commodities (eggs, live poultry, milk, pork products, live pigs, live cattle) are now part of the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Services emergency preparedness plan and the secure food supply plans (Secure Egg Supply, Secure Milk Supply, Secure Turkey Supply).

More recently, CAHFS partnered with the turkey industry and government agencies to provide an epidemiologic study of H5N2 among turkey farms following the devastating 2015 high path avian influenza event in Minnesota. 

Infectious Disease Spread Dynamics

Better disease management in animals boosts rural economies and improves food security in agricultural based countries. Our experts have developed disease spread modeling techniques to explain how diseases spread within and between farms in a region or country to find the best approach for managing disease spread. Different models have been developed by our group of experts for FMD in swine and cattle, tuberculosis in dairy cattle, and porcine epidemic diarrhea in swine.   

Aquaculture and Fish Health

The aquaculture industry is gaining more relevance in the US and around the world as the number of facilities increase every year.  As the numbers grow, there is an increasing need to understand disease dynamics in these environments. Additionally, there has been an increasing in invasive species affecting natural fish ecosystems.

To combat these challenges, our experts have implemented spatial tools to assess risk and manage fish disease and invasive species spread through natural and human-assisted pathways. We have also developed risk assessment and management tools for the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus.

Antibiotic Resistance

The emergence of multidrug resistant bacteria is a global concern as it affects several dimensions of animal and human health. We are interested in the implications of the use of antibiotics and growth promoters (or lack of them) in livestock and fish and the presence of multidrug resistant bacteria and antibiotic residues in the food chain and how it may affect human health.

We have done work on the molecular epidemiology of multidrug resistant bacteria that confer additional resistance and our group of experts has led research projects related to the survival of E.coli non-0157:H7 multidrug resistant strains in the food processing environment.