The FAZD Center has issued its report from its second Agricultural Screening Tools Workshop, entitled: Enhancing Ag Resiliency: The Agricultural Industry Perspective of Utilizing Agricultural Screening Tools.
Industry leaders from U.S. animal agriculture collaborated with top scientists specializing in contagious animal diseases to identify the next generation of improved screening tools for livestock, milk and other products during the two-day workshop held in April 2011 in Washington, D.C.
The first workshop, held in 2010, identified and prioritized gaps in the U.S. arsenal of agricultural screening tools. The latest meeting was the next step towards identifying methods by which screening tools may be utilized. The meeting also generated a healthy discussion on policies required for use of these tools.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD Center) convened an agricultural screening tools workshop on April 5-6, 2011, in Washington, DC. Workshop participants included leading foreign animal and emerging disease diagnostic experts from the US and UK, as well as leaders of the US livestock industry. Overall, the workshop was designed for participants to reach a consensus on the priorities for developing and utilizing agricultural screening tools.
The specific goals of this workshop were to:
- Obtain the animal industry’s input into current and emerging animal husbandry trends and practical technologies that can be utilized to strengthen diagnostic screening tools for transboundary animal, emerging, and zoonotic diseases, including identification of any practices and technologies that are common to the animal industries.
- Gain a greater understanding of the animal industry’s perspectives on the use of agricultural screening tools for transboundary and emerging diseases, focusing on issues, costs, and benefits of embedding testing into routine daily surveillance.
- Gain a greater understanding and prioritization of the needs and requirements for agricultural screening tools in the context of business continuity and enhancing resiliency in the livestock industry.
- Complete a policy gap analysis for the use of agricultural screening tools during the multiple phases of an outbreak, including pre-event surveillance, surveillance and response during an event, and recovery.
An initial agricultural screening tools workshop was held in November 2010 to formulate a definition of the term “agricultural screening tool,” evaluate the current status of agricultural screening tools, and identify the gaps and requirements for protecting the US agriculture and public health sectors. For the second workshop, participants were asked to identify and rank their priorities for the development and use of agricultural screening tools.
As discussed during the workshop, these priorities are:
- Develop agricultural screening tools that can be used to permit movement of animals that do not have clinical signs of disease and associated animal products (e.g., milk), especially during an outbreak or recovery period.
- Validate assays that are currently being used for PCR and ELISA testing for use with additional matrices, including
— milk (such as from bulk milk tanks)
— oral fluids (such as from saliva-drenched ropes)
— meat juice
— air and environmental samples
— blood (especially for testing for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus)
- Validate pooling of samples to test for foreign animal diseases, including
— optimal pooling of swabs or similar specimens for key poultry diseases
— optimal pooling of animal blood and/or swab samples, especially for FMD detection
- Develop simple, low-cost, field-deployable devices for nucleic acid extraction and/or amplification
- Develop and validate serological tests for “disease free” testing and develop associated policies for using those tests
Participants also discussed other critical needs, such as developing a more robust information technology infrastructure for reporting and sharing laboratory test results. This report presents an overview of the discussions among subject matter experts and industry leaders, as well as key findings from the workshop.
- Download the complete report as a PDF: Enhancing Ag Resiliency: The Agricultural Industry Perspective of Utilizing Agricultural Screening Tools.
- You may also download the complete report from the first Agricultural Screening Tools Workshop as a PDF: Defining the Needs and Requirements for Agricultural Screening Tools.