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Countering Bioterrorism

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Presentation on theme: "Countering Bioterrorism"— Presentation transcript:

1 Countering Bioterrorism

2 What is Bioterrorism? The threat or use of biological agents with the intent of causing infection in order to achieve certain goals. Types of Bioterrorism: Eco-terrorism Agro-terrorism “How might Attack on the agricultural sector be deterred?”

3 What is Agroterrorism? Agroterrorism is defined as any terrorist attack which uses a biological agent against crops, livestock or poultry. This can affect our: Food supply Water supply Natural resources McNair paper. Agricultural Bioterrorism: A Federal Strategy to Meet the Threat

4 History of Agroterrorism
During the First World War, German agents infected Allied horses with the bacterium that causes glanders — a disease that can kill horses and can also infect humans. Japan used animal and plant pathogens against Russia and Mongolia in the 1940’s. Iraq is known to have weaponized wheat pathogens and other anti-animal and plant agents. Gewin, Virginia. “Bioterrorism: Agricultural Shock” Nature Magazine, January 22, 2003.

5 Is it a Real Threat? The World Health Organization (WHO) states:
“The malicious contamination of food for terrorist purposes is a real and current threat”. McNair paper. Agricultural Bioterrorism: A Federal Strategy to Meet the Threat

6 Why Agroterrorism? America is the world’s leader in food production
Food and fiber account for 30% of the GDP (GDP is the total value of goods and services produced by a nation). In 1998 alone, agriculture was a 1.2 TRILLION dollar industry Foreign agents are readily available Attacking our crops and animals could cripple the economy Davis, Radford, DVM. “Agricultural Bioterrorism”. Iowa State University, 2001.

7 Places at Risk for Agroterrorism
Largely agricultural areas Heavy reliance on a monoculture of crops Free of specific serious animal and plant pathogens Major agricultural exporter Target of international terrorism Davis, Radford, DVM. “Agricultural Bioterrorism”. Iowa State University, 2001. MONOCULTURE is placing the same crop in the same field year after year with no crop rotation.

8 Possible Agroterrorism Agents
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Hog Cholera African Swine Fever Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Rinderpest Wheat Smut Davis, Radford, DVM. “Agricultural Bioterrorism”. Iowa State University, 2001. Avian flu is in the news as President Bush asks vaccination businesses to increase product of this flu vaccine. Rinderpest is a cattle plague, a viral infection of cattle, sheep and goats. Wheat smut is a fungus that attacks young wheat plants.

9 What are the possible Targets?
Animals and plants Trucks and railroads Farm workers, ranchers, producers Ships Food handlers Grocery stores And more Davis, Radford, DVM. “Agricultural Bioterrorism”. Iowa State University, 2001.

10 What is the Possible Impact?
It could threaten public health and cause farmers to lose animals and crops Businesses, and consumers will pay the large price. Small towns could be wiped out, and the food supply could be in peril for a long time. The government and export market could be destabilized. Davis, Radford, DVM. “Agricultural Bioterrorism”. Iowa State University, 2001. McNair paper. Agricultural Bioterrorism: A Federal Strategy to Meet the Threat

11 Difficulties of Preventing Agroterrorism
Agricultural production is difficult to protect. Livestock are concentrated in confined locations. The number of lethal and contagious biological agents are far greater for plants and animals than humans. Halweil, Bryan, PhD. Farmland Defense; How the Food System can Ward off Future Threats. <http://www.glynwood.org/programs/foodsec/Farmland%20Defense%20How%20the%20Food%20System%20Can%20Ward%20Off%20Th reats.pdf.>

12 Presence or Rumor of Disease
Even just the rumor of disease can be bad for the economy. In 2001, a fungal disease of wheat was found in North Texas. In one day, over 25 countries banned wheat from the four infected counties, resulting in a loss of $27 million dollars! Gewin, Virginia. “Bioterrorism: Agricultural Shock” Nature Magazine, January 22, 2003.

13 How can we Counterattack Agroterrorism?
At National Level-Policies designed to minimize the social and economic cost At Agricultural Sector Level-Disease detection and response procedures At Farm Level- Management techniques to prevent disease transmission At Organism Level- Plant and animal disease resistance McNair paper. Agricultural Bioterrorism: A Federal Strategy to Meet the Threat

14 "The Bioterrorism Preparedness Act” of 2002
Allocated $250 million to the Dept. of Agriculture Expanded Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority over food manufacturing and imports Upgraded security at USDA facilities Made criminal penalties for terrorism against enterprises raising animals Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

15 Security for Biological Agents
The government made a list of “select agents” that pose a severe threat to agriculture. These agents are now strictly regulated, causing laboratories and research institutions to upgrade security and assess any vulnerabilities. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

16 Plum Island Animal Disease Center
In 2002 possession of the Disease Center, which is America’s first line of defense against foreign animal disease, was switched from the Agriculture to the Dept. of Homeland Security, insuring safety and security. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005. Plum Island Animal Disease Center. USDA <http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode= > 06/20/05.

17 Agricultural Border Inspections
The Homeland Security Act increased the number of inspectors to 3,000. These agricultural specialists inspect all cargo from foreign countries that could harbor pest or disease organisms, improving the first line of defense for agricultural security. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

18 Defense of U.S. Agriculture and Food
In 2004, the president established a national policy on protecting against terrorist attacks on agriculture and food systems. The directive aims to coordinate all departments across all levels to prepare for, protect against and respond to an attack. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

19 National Veterinary Stockpile NVS
A stockpile of vaccine, anti-viral, and therapeutic products is currently being developed for deployment within 24 hours of an attack. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

20 National Plant Disease Recovery System NPDRS
Researchers are to develop disease resistant varieties within one growing season of an attack to resume production of certain crops. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

21 Strategy for Countering Bioterrorism
1st: Deterrence and Prevention 2nd: Detection and Response 3rd: Recovery and Management

22 Deterrence and Prevention
The first defense is to keep the disease or pathogen out of the country. This is done through inspections, quarantine practices, and post-import tracking of plants, animals, and products. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

23 Deterrence and Prevention
Many U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies collect information on bioweapons. The U.S. is working hard to foster information sharing between the intelligence community (FBI, CIA), Homeland Security, and the Dept. of Agriculture. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

24 Deterrence and Prevention
Once a biological weapon is inside the U.S., the line of defense is biosecurity. Certain strategies protect animals and crops from infectious diseases and prevents rapid spread. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

25 Detection and Response
The private sector recently formed a Food and Agriculture Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) with over 40 trade associations represented. In the event of an attack, the ISAC will coordinate response efforts with the government. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

26 Most important step! THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP of countering an attack is early detection. Effective detection depends on a heightened state of awareness and on access to large scale testing. Researchers are currently developing more efficient field tests to quickly detect pathogens. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

27 Field Tests Those responsible for recognizing the first symptoms of disease are: Farmers Producers Veterinarians Plant pathologists Entomologists Gewin, Virginia. “Bioterrorism: Agricultural Shock” Nature Magazine, January 22, 2003.

28 Detection and Response
Last line of defense: Isolation, control, and eradication of the epidemic. The more widespread the outbreak, the costlier and more drastic the measures become. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

29 Laboratories and Research
Knowledge is essential to preventing bioterrorism attacks. The U.S. has acted by giving grants to research facilities. For instance, Texas A&M University was awarded $33 million dollars to study serious animal diseases. Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

30 New Research Measures Sequencing of Genomes Forensic Studies
This generates new leads for tackling pathogens Forensic Studies These can determine where the pathogen was obtained from New Vaccines A new class of vaccines to distinguish vaccinated versus infected animals Gewin, Virginia. “Bioterrorism: Agricultural Shock” Nature Magazine, January 22, 2003.

31 Recovery and Management
Long term recovery includes: Returning plants and animals to once infected areas Introducing new genetic traits Rebuilding domestic confidence Regaining hold of the international market Monke, Jim, Analyst in Agricultural Policy. “Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness”. CRS Report for Congress. August 13, 2005.

32 Is All of this Enough? Many critics feel that despite all of these efforts, the vulnerabilities remain due to certain aspects of the U.S. food system: Low level of biological diversity High degree of economic concentration Dependence on foreign food Halweil, Bryan, PhD. Farmland Defense; How the Food System can Ward off Future Threats. <http://www.glynwood.org/programs/foodsec/Farmland%20Defense%20How%20the%20Food%20System%20Can%20Ward%20Off%20Th reats.pdf.>

33 Is All of this Enough? Alternate solutions that could reduce these vulnerabilities involve changes to the food industry: Encouraging more diversity Encouraging farms to be self-sufficient: less likelihood for spread of disease Less dependence on foreign food Halweil, Bryan, PhD. Farmland Defense; How the Food System can Ward off Future Threats. <http://www.glynwood.org/programs/foodsec/Farmland%20Defense%20How%20the%20Food%20System%20Can%20Ward%20Off%20Th reats.pdf.>

34 In the Future The United States will continue to try and improve anti-bioterrorism measures through identifying risks, improving communication, and supplying weak points with the resources necessary to improve their ability to respond to an attack.


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