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Dairy Facts 2016

DHS Announces New Vaccine For Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Jul 11, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced exciting news last week regarding a new vaccine for one of the seven strains of food-and-mouth disease. Although the United States has been FMD-free since 1929, the government and industry maintain constant vigilance against the disease because it can spread so quickly among cloven-hoofed animals and cause staggering economic losses.

FMD is an animal disease that does not pose a human health risk or affect food safety. However, according to DHS estimates, the potential cost of an FMD outbreak in the United States could exceed $50 billion.

Scientists at the DHS Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located near Long Island, N.Y., have produced a vaccine that is not made from a live FMD virus. Because it doesn't contain nucleic acids from the real virus, scientists can differentiate between vaccinated animals and infected animals. With traditional vaccines, it's virtually impossible to tell whether an animal is infected or has been exposed to the vaccine.

Plum Island Director Larry Barrett calls the vaccine "the biggest news in FMD research in 50 years," noting it's the first licensed vaccine that can be manufactured on the U.S. mainland. It also supports a "vaccinate-to-live strategy" because only animals that are infected would need to be culled, not the entire herd.

There are seven known serotypes of the FMD virus and more than 60 subtypes. DHS said it has several vaccines for other FMD serotypes that are ready to enter the licensing process.

For more information, contact Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at

FMD Crisis Readiness

The dairy industry's crisis readiness program was launched in 2001 by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), IDFA, the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the United States Dairy Export Council (USDEC). Together, this Dairy Communications Management Team maintains a crisis communications plan; conducts trainings with staff, dairy producers and processors; develops materials and resources; and integrates the plan with the government's Incident Command System.

The fictional scenario for this year's training involves a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the United States. If you are interested in attending a one-day training session in Sacramento, Calif., in September or Phoenix in November, contact Peggy Armstrong, IDFA vice president of communications, at

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