The foundational documents that set forth the guidelines and plans to be used during disasters are called Emergency Support Function (ESF) Annexes that define how different federal, state and local agencies will coordinate to accomplish critical tasks.

There are 15 different federally designated ESFs.

As described by USDA, the ESF Nos. 5, 6, 8, and

There are a number of responses that have been established at the national and state level to respond to emergencies that affect animals, either intentionally—as a result of agriterrorism or bioterrorism—or coincidentally as a result of natural disasters or disease outbreaks.

Those teams include:

  1. The National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps (NAHERC) that was established

Infectious disease outbreaks often make headlines when they affect humans-think Zika virus-but it is not often that animal disease outbreaks make it above the fold assuming they make news at all. The current and past avian influenza outbreaks in the United States are a great example.  USDA summarized the outbreak in a report titled, “

It has been some time since I have been focused on Foot and Mouth Disease, a virus affecting hoofed stock, including livestock, considered the most infectious virus on the planet.

During and after the 2001 FMD Outbreak in the United Kingdom most animal health officials, myself included, were focused on preventing the importation of this

Bentley, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owned Nina Pham, the nurse infected with the Ebola virus after caring for the recently deceased Thomas Eric Duncan, has been quarantined but there are no plans, thankfully, to euthanize him.  That is good news and in stark comparison to the draconian measures taken by officials in Spain, who

The impending court-ordered euthanasia of Excalibur-the dog owned by the Ebola infected nurse’s aide in Spain-is not only unnecessary from an animal and public health perspective, it is a dangerous precedent that could hamper efforts to identify and stop the spread of this devastating disease.

That said, dogs and other animals may become infected with

Those of us in the emergency response community (I directed theNew JerseyDepartment of Agriculture (NJDA)’s emergency response for disasters involving animals for a decade, as the Assistant and then State Veterinarian), have long known the importance of this message.  For more than 20 years, the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association has worked with the NJDA,