WASHINGTON — About 4,000 equine owners can expect a visit from enumerators with the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National
Agriculture Statistics Service next month. They are on a mission to gauge on-farm infection control strategies.
The goal is to obtain information for trend data on the concurrence of select infectious diseases, as well as the prevalence
of vaccines, including inoculations for West Nile Virus. The work is part of a two-part National Animal Health Monitoring
System (NAHMS) study, and data for the on-farm portion is expected to be collected in 28 states. Data collection for the event
component of the study already is taking place, says Dr. Josie Traub Dargatz, professor of equine medicine at Colorado State
University's (CSU) College of Veterinary Medicine.
"That started this spring and will continue at equine events for the rest of the calendar year," says Dargatz, who works on
a cooperative agreement between CSU and the USDA's Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health. "This portion of the study
will take place in six states and targets 360 total events."
USDA is surveying for use of equine health documents at events, as well as description of age, origin and vaccination
history. Veterinary medical officers will collect data via telephone or personal interviews, also noting the traceability
of animals once they leave events.