Although the last outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States occurred in 1929, the next outbreak could occur at any moment. After all, FMD in livestock is in more than 100 countries. FMD experts maintain that it’s not a matter of “if” FMD will occur in the United States; it’s a matter of “when” it will occur.
 
To that end, a Foot-and-Mouth Disease Symposium will be conducted April 17-18, in Louisville, KY, at the Galt House. Hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, the symposium, “Fostering a New Preparedness Paradigm: Facilitating a Conversation Among Public and Private Sector Stakeholders,” will include presentations by industry and government FMD experts and provide ample time for input from symposium attendees.

“We must be prepared to act and act quickly and efficiently when FMD strikes,” states Dr. Julie Smith, Dairy Extension Specialist from Vermont and Chair of the symposium. “Having perspectives from stakeholders throughout the food supply chain at the table is essential for moving FMD preparedness forward in the United States. This is your opportunity to provide input and have an impact.”

Smith adds that FMD—a disease that affects all cloven-hoofed animals—is extremely difficult to control as the FMD virus has seven different serotypes and 60 subtypes. Since all FMD viruses are not the same, a common vaccine cannot be used. Additionally, virus strains evolve and change.

Industry and government FMD experts will present and lead conversations at the April 17-18 symposium regarding the challenges of controlling FMD while maintaining continuity of business. Presentations and discussions will address:

The FMD Symposium kicks off Wednesday afternoon, April 17, and wraps up Thursday afternoon, April 18, at 4:30 p.m.
 
“This is a short-and-sweet symposium that will be packed with information,” Smith interjects. ”I can’t think of a better investment of time if you’re a producer, veterinarian, government employee, allied industry partner and others who want to be in the know and have a say so the livestock industry is prepared when FMD enters the United States.”
 
“If we’re not working together to create a preparedness strategy that works within and across livestock sectors, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.”

The FMD symposium will follow NIAA’s Annual Conference which kicks off on Monday, April 15, and closes on Wednesday, April 17. The Closing General Session of NIAA’s Annual Conference will dovetail into the Opening General Session of the FMD Symposium.

To learn more about the FMD Symposium, NIAA’s Annual Conference and how to register, please go online to http://www.animalagriculture.org or call NIAA at (719) 538-8843.