Continuity of Business Planning: Pandemic Preparedness in Zoological Institutions
Best business practice dictates planning for continuity of business during times of disaster. Traditionally, these plans have not included preparation for infectious disease. Zoological institutions must be prepared to minimize the risk and consequences of emerging infectious diseases to both their collection and patrons. ‘Zoo Animal Health Network’ is a joint initiative between Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that is designed to help zoological institutions watch and prepare for the possibility of a zoonotic or foreign animal disease outbreak. The surveillance component will help zoos detect the presence of disease at their facility early enough to institute predetermined outbreak management plans. Additionally, it will increase the robustness of current disease surveillance in wildlife, thus offering important data to public health agencies. The preparedness component will teach zoo professionals techniques for standardized observation that will aid in rapid response to diseases of concern.
The authors would like to thank Amy Glaser, Cornell University; Scott Larsen, University of California, Davis; Pam Dennis, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo; Darrel Styles, USDA; and all those who contributed to develop the Zoo Animal Health Network.