"There are those that say a single case of FMD is a catastrophic event. I say that with a small 'c' not to imply that a single
case would automatically be an incident of national significance. The economic impact, however, would be huge; absolutely
If it was a deliberate introduction of a foreign animal disease, the rules of engagement become that much more complex, starting
with the declaration of incident of national significance. This declaration, made by the President with his Cabinet members,
is key because "it brings with it a number of incident management mechanisms that can be brought to bear on a situation."
The role of DHS is one of collaboration with all government agencies, Smith explains. For an FMD outbreak, the United States
Department of Agriculture would take the lead within the context of a national response. But there would be help not only
from DHS, but Health and Human Services (FDA, CDC), Department of Justice, Department of Defense, FBI and EPA. DHS' expertise
in countermeasures would also be tapped, including its national network of diagnostic laboratories, technological capabilities
and/or access to rapid assays, not to mention NBIS.
Are we ready?
"We are better prepared today than we were yesterday. I feel like we can certainly be better prepared tomorrow. We are working
toward that goal.
"Every farmer, rancher and every veterinarian has a role to play in the prevention and response to a foreign animal disease,"
"It starts locally and runs to the highest levels of government."