Bioterrorism precautions


Purdue University just created a National Biosecurity Resource Center for Animal Health Emergencies to help avert potential catastrophes to U.S. livestock.

West Lafayette, Ind.-Purdue University just created a NationalBiosecurity Resource Center for Animal Health Emergencies to help avertpotential catastrophes to U.S. livestock.

The center is offering a plethora of information via its Web site,

The information center is a resource for government officials, veterinarians,producers, commodity groups and others interested in learning about goodbiosecurity measures based on scientific research.

One of the center's first activities started this fall when members wentto help evaluate biosecurity measures at Plum Island research facilitiesin New York to guard against any accidental outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

"Disease prevention is a big key in maintaining a secure livestockindustry," says Dr. Sandy Amass, assistant professor of veterinaryclinical sciences and center director. "There is a lot of dogma outthere. Producers follow procedures they've done for years without knowingwhether or not they really work."

Amass says one example of a flawed precautionary measure is the widelyperformed ritual of stepping through boot baths. "Boot baths are consideredthe gold standard for preventing the spread of diseases, but you could probablystand in one for 50 years and it still would not properly disinfect,"she says.

Research concludes that scrubbing manure off boots and then soaking themin disinfectant or using plastic disposable boots for short visits weremuch more effective measures.

In the event of a real animal-health emergency, the Web site is designedto be a readily available resource on proper handling measures, the universityreports.

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