An FMD contingency plan should be a well-articulated strategy document designed to define actions to be taken in the event of an FMD emergency. It should contain details of the resources needed to meet such an emergency as well as an action plan for efficient and rapid deployment of both human and material resources for effective containment of the disease and elimination of infection. While it is not feasible to produce a model contingency plan that will be a perfect fit for all situations and circumstances in different countries, the suggested format and contents as described below will serve as guidelines for individual countries to design their own national FMD contingency plans. Suggestions for aspects to be included in a national FMD contingency plan are given below.
This component should describe the essential features of FMD such as:
world evolution and distribution
diagnosis: field, differential and laboratory.
Most of these aspects, as described in the manual, are generic while others may need to be modified to reflect the prevailing circumstances in individual countries (e.g. susceptible species and numbers; husbandry and management practices; and structure and resources of veterinary and ancillary services).
This provides information on just how serious a threat FMD is for a country in comparison with other transboundary animal diseases, where and how FMD might be present, and what its potential consequences are. Risk analysis should indicate just how much effort needs to be put into contingency planning, provide the rationale for the disease control strategies selected, and facilitate prioritization of risk management activities.
Risk analyses need to be updated regularly to take account of changing circumstances, both within and outside the country.
Prevention strategies should describe the measures to be taken in order to minimize the risk of introduction and establishment of FMD in the country or in FMD-free areas of the country, taking into account the assessed risks of introduction and the available strategies for reducing these risks through the control of transboundary livestock movements and management of importation of both animal products and waste materials of animal origin.
This includes all the initiatives that need to be taken to ensure both that an incursion of FMD can be recognized and reacted to before it reaches epidemic proportions in the country and also for monitoring the progress of eradication campaigns. The plan includes passive and active disease surveillance and epidemiological capabilities such as emergency disease reporting mechanisms and animal health information systems; training of animal health staff in recognition of the disease; and public awareness programmes.
This component includes the strategies and programmes that need to be implemented first to contain an FMD epidemic and then progressively to control and eradicate it through zoning, quarantine, livestock movement controls, stamping out and/or targeted vaccination campaigns - in a way that minimizes the socio-economic consequences. It also describes how eradication of the disease is to be verified.
The administrative structures of national veterinary services, which have evolved mainly to deal with routine animal health programmes, are not necessarily appropriate for emergency disease control. This component describes the organizational arrangements to be put in place when there is an FMD emergency so that all necessary resources are efficiently exploited to respond to the emergency. These arrangements will vary according to the infrastructure, capability of the veterinary services and bureaucratic systems of the country concerned.
Support plans underpin the technical plans. They include financial and resource plans and legislation. They are of vital importance and are a key to the success or failure of an eradication campaign.
These are the mechanisms whereby the various phases of the plan are implemented, from the initial investigation phase to the final stand-down phase.
A list of names and contact addresses including telephone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of the following could be placed as appendixes to the contingency plan:
FMD regional and world reference laboratories
international organizations offering possible assistance.
Also included may be information on:
national animal health laws
anything specifically relevant to an individual country.
It should be emphasized that the following chapters only provide the framework for countries to develop their own FMD contingency plans, taking their particular circumstances into account. The strategies of different countries for countering FMD will vary considerably according to their veterinary and other infrastructure capacity, the stage of development of their livestock industries, and their potential for export of livestock and livestock products.