The local veterinary practitioner, who may be the first to suspect the possible presence of an FAD, is one of the most important figures in the Government–veterinarian–producer partnership formed to prevent and respond to FADs. The veterinarian’s alertness to the possibility of serious disease and prompt action in notifying both the APHIS–VS Assistant District Director (AD) and the State Animal Health Official can mean the difference between immediate disease containment and a protracted control and eradication effort involving large-scale economic consequences and possibly requiring many months or years to complete. Once the notification is made, a specially trained FAD diagnostician (State or Federal) visits the premises, investigates the report, and takes diagnostic samples. On the basis of results of this process, the FAD diagnostician makes a field diagnosis, initiates appropriate control measures, ships diagnostic samples to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL), and informs the AD or SAHO.
After the presence of disease has been confirmed and regulatory measures have been put in place for pathogen control, local veterinarians continue to play key roles not only by increasing public awareness of disease-control measures but also by supporting or joining the disease control and eradication effort. Joining the effort is done through the National Animal Heath Emergency Reserve Corps (NAHERC), a program that provides temporary Federal status for selected private veterinary practitioners and animal health technicians. See the section on NAHERC, below, for more information.
When an incident occurs, the appropriate AD and SAHO will establish an Incident Command Post (ICP) with an Incident Management Team (IMT), and will delegate their authority to take appropriate action to the Incident Commander (IC) of the IMT. The IMT consist of all types of communication, safety, and liaison sections. This team is the incident’s command and general staff. The IMT also includes four line organizations to perform all of the effort required to identify, contain, eradicate, recover, and return the situation to normal business practices. These line organizations include sections for operations, planning, logistics, and finance and administration. Within each of these sections is the capability to accomplish all of the tasks necessary to ensure a successful outcome to an animal health emergency.
If multiple ICPs are needed in the State, an Area Command may be established to coordinate the activities of the ICs through this organization. The AD and SAHO will continue to set priorities for the ICs and for use of resources.
In any given incident, one of three levels of response may be appropriate and commensurate with the severity of the outbreak or other emergency:
A local or limited response: This level of response is managed by local, State, Tribal, Federal, and industry officials with response coordination provided primarily at the State and regional levels and with national-level consultation and consequence management (like trade issues).
A regional response: A regional response is managed by local, State, Tribal, Federal, and industry officials—in some cases, with the involvement of the appropriate State emergency management agency as specified in State animal health emergency response plans. National-level crisis management, response coordination, consultation, and consequence management are required.
A national response: A national response requires the combined efforts of local, State, Tribal, Federal, and industry agricultural officials; coordination from nonagricultural personnel from Government bodies like DHS; and the support of the private and volunteer sectors in national-level crisis management, response coordination, consultation, and consequence management.