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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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About: National Animal Health Surveillance System

The National Animal Health Surveillance System (NAHSS) is a network of partners working together through surveillance to protected animal health. The goal of the NAHSS is to systematically collect, collate, and analyze animal health data and promptly disseminate animal health information, especially to those partners obligated to respond.

What is surveillance?

For the purpose of the NAHSS, animal health surveillance is defined as the ongoing systematic collection, collation, analysis, and interpretation of data and dissemination of information to those who need to know so that action can be taken. The purposes of surveillance are rapid detection of introduced diseases and emerging issues, monitoring and providing actionable information for endemic diseases, and measuring regional prevalence of trade-significant diseases.

Why is there a need for the NAHSS?

  • Improve protection of national animal health and the food supply
  • Increase efficiency of surveillance in the United States
  • Meet international demands
  • The NAHSS is needed to improve protection of national animal health and food supply, increase the efficiency of existing animal health surveillance programs and initiatives, and meet international demands in relation to trade.

One of the primary principles of the Animal Health Safeguarding Review (2001) was that the United States must have a comprehensive, coordinated, and integrated animal health surveillance system. Veterinary Services has historically conducted animal health surveillance through a number of systems, mostly focused on disease eradication programs and passive reporting of foreign animal diseases. While both of these systems have been effective in meeting their established goals, they do not provide a comprehensive overview necessary to appropriately allocate resources and to assure international trading partners of the health of the Nation's herd.

What the NAHSS will do?

Provide greater protection against animal diseases by:

  • Facilitation of information exchange between groups
  • Enhancement of current programs
  • Establishment and maintenance of necessary infrastructure

The NAHSS will provide greater protection from endemic, emerging, and foreign animal diseases (FADs) that could affect the Nation's livestock, poultry, and wildlife populations by (1) facilitating information exchange between groups, (2) enhancing current programs, and (3) establishing and maintaining necessary infrastructure for effective and comprehensive surveillance. Veterinary Services has established priorities and created a roadmap to facilitate the transition from current surveillance activities to a new, more effective and efficient NAHSS.

The NAHSS will establish and maintain a surveillance system capable of detecting and surveying foreign and emerging diseases rapidly. The system also will evaluate and enhance surveillance for current eradication and disease control programs. Finally, it will monitor disease trends and threats in the United States and other countries and provide timely and accurate animal health information.

As one of many components - within and outside of agriculture - the NAHSS will help improve the Nation's ability to detect the early warning signs of biological threats. This work will entail close cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security. is occurring regularly and efficiently between and among all partners of the NAHSS.

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