Are we prepared for a foreign animal disease outbreak?

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

March 2018

Preparing for an animal disease outbreak

Sample testing photo showing gloved hand holding test tube.

Preparing to respond to animal disease incidents is a priority for Minnesota. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, University of Minnesota, and livestock industry groups are collaborating with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other states to conduct an aggressive animal disease response exercise this May. This is the first large-scale exercise of its kind, incorporating multiple states and the USDA responding simultaneously to a nationwide event.

The exercise will focus on a mock scenario that begins in another state, eventually causing the disease to spread to multiple states, including Minnesota. Each state’s participation will vary in complexity. Local and state participation in the exercise will focus on resource management, communication, incident command, and response with state and local assets.

This exercise will allow Minnesota’s local, state, federal and industry partners in agriculture and livestock to work through a realistic exercise of a theoretical outbreak, providing an opportunity to test its emergency response capabilities.

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Premises registration is important

A Premises Registration Number (PIN) is a unique confidential code used by state and federal government to identify a location where livestock are raised, housed or located. It is part of a complete traceability chain, which helps our agency's mission of disease surveillance. The PIN is private data and we only use it internally.

With it, we have a great tool for record keeping, traceability and emergency preparedness.

Without it, we have a gap in our effort to protect the health of Minnesota's livestock.

Protect your livelihood today, register your premises and support emergency preparedness, trade and consumer confidence in a safe food supply. Click this link to register through the Board's website.

USDA ends required reporting of SECD

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is rescinding the Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases (SECD) Federal Order and will no longer require producers, veterinarians, or laboratories to report cases to animal health officials. SECD is now well understood by the veterinary community and producers, and tools exist to effectively respond to it. This action is effective March 6, 2018.

USDA first issued the Federal Order in 2014 to help address these newly-identified viruses, which were causing hardships for the swine industry.  As knowledge of SECD grew, USDA modified the Federal Order in 2016 to only include reporting requirements. Although SECD is now considered widespread, there’s a better understanding of how to manage it. The swine industry is willing and capable of working with its producers and veterinarians to address SECD without Federal assistance.

The removal of the Federal Order aligns with feedback the swine industry provided to USDA and supports Secretary Perdue’s focus on ensuring USDA programs are delivered efficiently, effectively and with integrity and a focus on customer service, in this case by removing unnecessary regulatory requirements.

Attention: practicing veterinarians and producers should not reuse needles

The USDA's Veterinary Services cannot overemphasize the importance of single-use needles in the diagnosis and treatment of livestock. Needles contaminated with blood or tissue can act as fomites, carrying infectious agents and rapidly transmitting a disease through a herd or between herds of animals. Using needles on only one animal and then safely discarding used needles protects the health and wellbeing of livestock. Some diseases that may be transmitted with dirty needles include:

  • Bovine leukosis.
  • Bovine virus diarrhea.
  • Bluetongue.
  • Anaplasmosis.
  • Caprine arthritis and encephalitis.
  • Cryptosporidiosis.
  • Strangles.
  • Ringworm.
  • Clostridial disease (blackleg).
  • Caseous Lymphadenitis.
  • Several foreign animal diseases, such as Nipah virus.

Register: Authorized Poultry Testing Agent Course

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) and Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL) will be holding an Authorized Poultry Testing Agent (APTA) training course for those interested in performing the Rapid Whole Blood Test for Pullorum-Typhoid Disease and collecting samples for other Board or National Poultry Improvement Plan programs. Other topics to be discussed include the Board of Animal Health’s and National Poultry Improvement Plan’s role in disease control, hatchery sanitation, community sales and exhibitions, and biosecurity.

When: Friday, April 6, 2018 (8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)


Holiday Inn & Suites – St. Cloud
75 South 37th Ave.
St. Cloud, MN 56301
(320) 253-9000

Registration Fee: $25. All registration fees are non-refundable! Lunch and course materials are provided.

Registration Deadline: March 30, 2018

Sign-up now to guarantee a spot - LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE! 

Click here to register!

Authorized Poultry Testing Agents must be at least 18 years of age.  

Please call the MPTL at 320-231-5170 with questions.