In an effort to centralize distribution of protocols for animal health biosecurity, Purdue University has launched the nation’s first Web-based National Biosecurity Resource Center for Animal Health Emergencies.

The site can be accessed at www.biosecuritycenter.org.

Purdue University veterinarian Sandy Amass and a biosecurity researcher, explains the reasoning for formation of the center. "I get calls from the different commodity groups and they all ask the same questions about farm biosecurity. All of the groups have people researching the same information."

To solve that dilemma, Amass and cohorts developed the biosecurity center to serve as a "data haven to enable government, commodity groups, veterinarians and producers to meet the challenges of animal health emergencies," she says. Purdue has applied for USDA funding to help support the effort.

The chance of an animal health emergency like foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) invading the United States is a remote possibility, she admits. But the livestock industry needs to be on its toes. One issue of particular interest to Amass is the human transmission implications of FMD. She wants to know what is the downtime needed by a response team between farms, to determine if the response team is in fact helping spread the outbreak. She will work on studies at the USDA’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Plum Island, NY, to learn how FMD strains transmit differently.

What is learned about biosecurity for foreign animal diseases will also help address needs for domestic farm animal diseases, says Amass, the biosecurity center’s director. "The goal is not to do anything we don’t have to do for biosecurity, and right now we don’t have a lot of the answers for what’s right," she explains. Biosecurity protocols need to be addressed on a disease-by-disease basis.

Right now the center’s data base is "pig heavy." There are plans to branch out to other livestock species. And if things go well, the Web-based center will expand from domestic to international in scope.

The Web project includes sections on peer-reviewed biosecurity references, cleaning and disinfecting, personal protective equipment, research opportunities and state regulations on carcass disposal, nutrient management and reportable diseases. Also, a list of biosecurity research teams is being maintained at Purdue to help contacts with funding agencies.

Amass urges visitors to the Web site to fill out the evaluation form located under the "Contact Us" section to help develop the site to meet everyone’s needs.

For more information on the center, contact Amass at (765) 494-8052 (phone); (765) 496-2608 (fax) or amasss@vet.purdue.edu.