Workabeba (Abby) Yigzaw: (301) 851-4096
Lyndsay Cole: (970) 494-7410
WASHINGTON, March 25, 2013 – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) transferred one million doses of Classical Swine Fever (CSF) vaccine to Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Safety.
“APHIS recognizes the prevalence of CSF in Guatemala and responded immediately to their request for assistance to help control their latest outbreak,” said Dr. John R. Clifford, USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer. “We sent a team of subject matter experts to assess the situation and concluded that the use of much-needed vaccine would help in containing the spread of the disease.”
On March 19, APHIS donated the vaccines based on a request for assistance from the Guatemalan Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Humberto Maldonado, to help Guatemala control the spread of CSF there.
This assistance will help control and limit spread of CSF in Guatemala and neighboring countries. Among these countries are Mexico, currently working to control and eradicate the disease, and the United States, which has been free of CSF for over 30 years. Thus, this assistance extends beyond Guatemala and contributes to safeguarding animal health throughout Central and North America.
“With trade opportunities increasing each year, the promotion of animal health across borders is important now more than ever,” said Clifford. “APHIS recognizes that the prevalence of animal disease in one country could easily transpose to another. This donation exemplifies APHIS’ commitment to animal health both domestically and worldwide.”
As Guatemala implements their vaccination campaign, APHIS will take the opportunity to study the impact of the vaccine on surveillance and diagnostics when implemented in a field environment. Subject Matter Experts from the Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health , the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, and the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture are currently working together to design the study.
The one million vaccines were part of the National Veterinary Stockpile (NVS). Established in 2004 by a Presidential directive, the NVS helps protect the Nation’s food supply by quickly providing necessary resources during an animal disease outbreak. This allows animal health officials to deliver a rapid and effective disease response. With NVS support, officials can set up immediate measures to contain and eradicate the disease, minimizing the animal losses, market disruptions, and other economic damages that result from an outbreak.
The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing its best period in history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers and agribusinesses. Today, net farm income is at record levels while debt has been cut in half since the 1980s. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
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