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Increase in foreign animal disease surveillance

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will increase Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) surveillance in the U.S. in the wake of September's terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and New York City's World Trade Center.

"No potential FAD cases should be disregarded," USDA said in a September, 11 memo. "Potential hoaxes should be treated as real incursions of FADs until proven otherwise. Specific attention should be directed at livestock and poultry concentration points."

USDA also advised investigators and lab workers to apply appropriate levels of protection when examining animals, carcasses and submitted samples until potentially zoonotic diseases can be ruled out.

Questions should be directed to USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, Emergency programs staff at _301-734-8073, 800-940-6524 or EMOC@USDA.GOV.

Meanwhile, Charles Beard, vice president of research and technology for the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, urged members of the poultry industry to implement known steps of biosecurity. "While everyone involved in the industry must participate in such tightening of biosecurity," he wrote in an on-line letter to industry members, "growers and farm managers have the most significant roles. Poultry houses need to be located behind locked gates and fences, house doors should be locked, feed delivery drivers should not enter the houses and neither should anyone else if they don't have the right to be there."

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