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USDA - APHIS - Animal Health - Veterinary Services - Center For Animal Health

Emerging Animal Health Issues
Emerging Issue Reports are periodic reports to provide awareness of emerging issues with the potential to impact United States animal agriculture. These reports summarize a variety of social, technological, environmental, economic, and political issues that may be of concern to VS and include a brief analysis of the potential risk and/or impact presented by each issues.
Antimicrobial Resistance Update May 2007 (PDF 621 KB) | Executive Summary (PDF 59 KB)
Antimicrobial resistant pathogens and the role of antibiotic use in livestock production are causing increasing international concern. This report provides a knowledge base related to antimicrobial resistance which will assist decision makers in assigning research priorities and resources. The report briefly describes the following: the origins and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial use in food animals in the US, the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance, implications of antimicrobial resistance for human and animal health, and current activities and future needs related to antimicrobial resistance.

Aquaculture: U.S. Aquaculture Industry Profile: Phase1 (2008) (PDF 3.9MB) Current methodologies for pathways analysis and risk assessment focus on predicting the likelihood of movement of known diseases to new locations. However, to be able to prevent or decrease the frequency of emerging disease occurrence, a method to predict emergence and movement of novel or evolving diseases is needed. New approaches are needed to accomplish this.
Infectious Disease Emergence Qualitative Risk Assessment Tool: Development: Application and Results (2008) (PDF 987KB)
Emerging infectious diseases are diseases that have newly appeared in a population or that have existed but are evolving or increasing in incidence or geographic range.

Animal Health Hazards of Concern During Natural Disasters - Full Report (2002) (PDF 225KB) | Executive Summary (2002) (PDF 13KB) The objective of this paper is to describe some of the major natural disasters that have occurred in the U.S. during recent years and to review some infectious and non-infectious hazards that, at the very least, are perceived to be related directly to natural disasters. The number and types of natural disasters, the basic ecology and epidemiology of several infectious hazards that are thought to be affected by the climatic and environmental changes during natural disasters, and the impact of natural disasters on some non-infectious hazards of animals are presented.

El Nino of 1997-98: The Climatic Effects of El Nino and Their Relation to Vector-Borne Disease Occurrence , 2/98 (PDF 277KB) This report describes El Nino, details temperature and precipitation anomalies in the US during past El Nino events, and summarizes weather predictions for the US during the first half of 1998. It presents the potential for climatic conditions to affect insect populations that transmit diseases of animals and briefly reviews difficulties in linking large-scale climate events with disease occurrence.

Infectious: Bacteria
Anthrax: Differentiation of Naturally Occuring From Non-Naturally Occurring Epizootics of Anthrax in Livestock Population (2007) (PDF 291KB) Anthrax infection in livestock is enzootic in some geographical regions in the U.S. Until recently, anthrax epizootics appropriately were considered to be naturally occurring infections. However, there are heightened concerns now that anthrax may be used deliberately to harm livestock populations due to the upsurge in terrorism, specifically agroterrorism.
Anthrax: Epizootiology and Ecology of Anthrax (2006) (PDF 1.16MB) This paper describes what is known about the ecology of anthrax, and it reviews several significant outbreaks of anthrax in livestock populations in the US and abroad. The epizootics reviewed herein included a period of at least 30 years (1971 to 2001), three continents (North America, Australia, Africa), four countries/provinces (the United States, Canada, Namibia, Victoria) and two broad classifications of animals (domesticated livestock and wildlife). Anthrax epizootics in livestock and wildlife are restricted to specific geographical regions, regardless of continent, country, or geopolitical unit within a given country. Epizootics in livestock in the US are restricted to states west of the Mississippi River. Similarly, epizootics of anthrax in livestock and bison in Canada have been restricted to the western provinces.


Escherichia coli 
Contamination of food with the bacteria E. coli O157:H7 is an important zoonotic food safety issue. CEI has helped define the role of cattle as a source of E. coli O157:H7 in food products.

An Update: Escherichia coli O157:H7, 6/97 (PDF 438KB) This update focuses on E. coli O157:H7 as a continuing source of illness in humans, improvements in diagnosis, testing and reporting, and reports on the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in the cattle population as well as post-harvest control measures. The Executive Summary mentioned below is included as an appendix in the Update. Content Divider  

Executive Summary, E. Coli O157:H7 - Issues and Ramifications, 3/94 (PDF 316KB) Summarizes an 80-page report which addresses why E. coli O157:H7 is an important human pathogen, what is known about E. coli O157:H7 in cattle, production and consumption patterns for ground beef, and future directions.

Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 Situation Assessment, 12/97 (PDF 101KB) Summarizes what is currently known about Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 in animals and humans, and includes information on epidemiology, control, economic impact, and food safety.

Infectious: Prions
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
First identified in Great Britain in 1986. CEI produced several reports which address the risk of an outbreak of BSE in the United States.

Bibliography for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE, 8/96)(PDF 220KB) Contains a comprehensive bibliography of articles up to 1996 from refereed journals and publications of government, professional associations, and international organizations. Subjects covered include TSE's, BSE, human spongiform encephalopathies, Transmissible Mink Encephalopathy (TME), scrapie, and spongiform encephalopathies in other species.
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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: Implications for the U.S. - A Follow Up 4/96 (PDF 1.09MB) Update to the original report published in 1993 (see below). It provides an updated review of the BSE outbreak in Great Britain, risk factors for BSE in the United States, and review of surveillance for BSE in the U.S.
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U.S. Rendering and Feed-Manufacturing Industries: Evaluation of Practices with Risk Potential for BSE, 11/92 (PDF 3.24MB) Describes a 1991-92 survey of U.S. rendering and feed-manufacturing industries and results regarding risk of U.S. cattle contracting BSE.
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Bovine Spongiform Enchephalopathy: In the News
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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: Implications for the U.S., 12/93 Contains a review of BSE in Great Britain, a discussion of risk factors and surveillance for BSE in the U.S., and a quantitative assessment of the possible role of nonambulatory cattle in transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in the U.S.

Quantitative Risk Assessment of BSE in the U.S., 1/92 Presents a systems model of BSE epidemiology, scrapie/BSE contamination of rendered product, risk assessments at state and county levels, etc.

Qualitative Analysis of BSE Risk Factors in the U.S., 1/92 Discusses differences and similarities of epidemiologic risk factors for BSE between the U.S. and Great Britain, including sheep population, cattle inventories, slaughter, rendering and feed industries, etc.

Infectious: Viruses
Caliciviruses of Animals in the United States (2003) (PDF 216KB) Caliciviruses of animals in the US first began to receive attention approximately 70 years ago. Since then, numerous caliciviruses have been isolated from a variety of animal species. The epizootics of rabbit hemorrhagic disease in the US in 2000 and 2001, and the reported isolation of a “vesicular exanthema of swine-like calicivirus” from an aborted bovine fetus in 2002 have heightened concerns about the roles of caliciviruses in diseases of animals. This paper provides the reader with an introduction to the caliciviruses of animals. The current taxonomy, natural history, epidemiology, clinical signs, zoonotic aspects, and the significance of caliciviruses in animal health were discussed.

Epidemiology and Ecology of Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (2004) (PDF 291 KB)
Eastern equine encephalomyelitis viruses (EEEV) are members of the Alphavirus genus, family Togaviridae. EEEV can be transmitted to equines and humans during the bite of an infected mosquito. In addition to horses and humans, EEEV can produce severe disease in common livestock species such as swine and cattle. EEEV, or virus-specific antibodies, have been recovered from birds such as the turkey, pheasant, quail, ostrich, and emu, among others. Other animals in which EEEV have been found are the turtle, snake, hamster, and fish. In addition to the mosquito, EEEV have been isolated from the horse fly, blackfly, mite, lice, and Culicoides spp. The majority of EEEV isolates have been from only 27 species of mosquito, and a high percentage of the isolates have been from a single species of mosquito, Culiseta melanura.

HPAI: Update on Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza, January - June 2007(PDF 44KB)
Since January 2007, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI H5N1) was officially reported for the first time in six countries: England, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Ghana, and Togo. New outbreaks occurred in seven countries that had previously declared themselves free of the disease: Japan, Thailand, Hungary, Russia, Turkey, Czech Republic, and Germany. The pattern of outbreaks in 2007, which continued through June, differed markedly from that in 2006, which peaked earlier and had largely subsided by May.
HPAI: Recent Spread of Highly Pathogenic (H5N1) Avian Influenza in Birds (2005) (PDF 183 KB)
During the spring and summer of 2005, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI, subtype H5N1) started spreading westward out of Southeast Asia, where it has been circulating for several years. By the fall, HPAI was reported in poultry and/or wild birds in several countries in Central Asia and around the Black Sea. The range of HPAI expanded rapidly beginning in 2006, and by the end of April, H5N1 virus had been found in 34 countries not previously reporting the disease.

Epizootiology and Ecology of Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (2006) (PDF 622KB)
Western equine encephalomyelitis (WEE) is an arthropod-borne virus infection that is confined to the Western Hemisphere and is caused by a WEE complex of four closely related viruses. WEE virus is associated more frequently with disease in animals and humans than are the remaining members of the WEE complex. WEE virus has been isolated from horses, wild birds, mammals, mosquitoes and humans in numerous states west of the Mississippi River.

Dioxins in the Food Chain: Background (2000) (PDF 67 KB)
Dioxin and related chemical compounds are toxic industrial pollutants which are ubiquitous and persistent in the environment, and which accumulate in the fat tissue of animals and humans. Foods of animal origin are the primary source of human exposure to dioxins. In June 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed a ten-year effort to reassess the science base associated with dioxin and closely related compounds and their associated risk to human health. The draft dioxin reassessment concludes that dioxin is a human carcinogen and that the lifetime cancer risk associated with the average person's body burden of dioxin is between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 100. This estimate of risk is ten times higher than EPA's previous estimate and represents a very significant public health concern.

 The Potential for International Travelers to Transmit Foreign Animal Diseases to US Livestock or Poultry, 9/98 --REMOVED -- Summarizes what is currently known regarding the potential for human infection and human-to-animal transmission of FAD, focusing on the International Office of Epizootics (OIE) List A diseases. The ability of humans to be biological or mechanical vectors for each disease is also explored, resulting in a qualitative risk rating for each disease.

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