Travelers and Industry Asked to Remain Vigilant
SACRAMENTO-In the wake of the European crisis regarding Foot and Mouth Disease, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is issuing a list of precautions for international travelers and members of the agriculture industry who may receive international visitors.
“The United States and California have safeguards in place that have prevented Foot and Mouth Disease here for 72 years”, said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “I urge anybody who might come into contact with the virus to pay close attention to these precautions, so that we may continue to protect our livestock, our economy and our environment”.
CDFA veterinarians have compiled the following list of recommendations:
• Foreign travelers should always declare on their customs form if they have been on a farm or in contact with livestock, and they should always declare the presence of any meat or dairy products.
• Ask foreign visitors to provide information about recent farm and animal contacts.
• If possible, exclude foreign visitors from livestock facilities for at least five days after arrival in the United States.
• Do not permit clothing, shoes or other articles from affected countries, such as luggage, cameras, jewelry and watches, to enter livestock facilities.
• Insist that visitors wear clean clothing and shoes when visiting livestock facilities.
• Keep sterile, disposable coveralls and plastic boots available for visitors to livestock facilities.
• Do not allow meat or animal products from affected countries to enter livestock facilities.
• Discourage close contact or handling of animals by foreign visitors.
• If traveling to an affected country, carefully wash and disinfect all clothing and shoes upon return to the U.S.
The last cases of Foot and Mouth Disease in the U.S. were eradicated in 1929. The outbreak was discovered in Los Angeles County and, unfortunately, required the extermination of 3,600 animals. Prior to that, a 1924 outbreak in Berkeley resulted in the extermination of 110,000 animals.
To help with the most recent outbreak in the United Kingdom, a team of CDFA veterinarians has joined a force of Americans assisting with disease investigation and eradication measures. The California veterinarians have an opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about the perils of Foot and Mouth Disease. It is anticipated that more CDFA veterinarians will soon join the team overseas.
For more information about Foot and Mouth Disease, please log-on to CDFA’s web site at www.cdfa.ca.gov or the USDA’s web site at www.aphis.usda/gov/oa/fmd.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814