Foot and Mouth Outbreak Drill Successful - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

02.23.07

Foot and Mouth Outbreak Drill Successful

More than 200 people in the ag industry staged a drill to better prepare themselves for a outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
   

The two day event called "Operation Palo Duro" wrapped up this afternoon...Newschannel10's Tina Berasley is following the story and brings us the outcome.

    "We actually do these exercises as many as we can as often as we can because you never know when its gonna get here and we'd much rather be ready for it than not". Jim Rogers is with the USDA in Maryland, and travelled to the Amarillo Civic Center.
    

In the two-day exercise they simulated a Foot and Mouth outbreak on a feedlot here in the panhandle...one of the biggest ag-based economies in the country.
   

Groups worked to control the potential effects of the disease, from the first spotted case, to keeping the sickness from spreading, and then eliminating it from livestock.
   

Dr. James Alexander is with the Texas Department of State Health Services. He said "We want to be prepared to react if a disease does get in. Right now we have a lot of inspections and quarantines and other methods to prevent the introduction, but if something does get by we want to be able to identify it early and deal with it quickly before it does any damage to the food supply of the country".
   

Both the federal and state governments do have a plan in place to deal with the threat of disease, but experts know executing that plan will be the true test.
Dr. Bill Hillman is the ExecutveDirector of the Texas Animal Health Commission. He added
 

"We dont just say 'We did a good job and then go home'. Now what we need to do is take the pieces that we put together, the questions that were asked, the answers that were provided to some of those unanswered questions that we have over here and work through and find answers to those".

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