Report on a Multi-Stakeholder Exercise for Avian Influenza Preparedness and Response
1Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, USA; 2College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA; 3United States Department of Agriculture Animal Care, Riverdale, MD, USA
Zoo veterinarians and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have spent considerable time and resources in preparing the zoological community for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), but the opportunities for the community to evaluate that preparedness have been limited. This presentation will report on the outcomes of a preparedness exercise for sixteen midwestern zoos called “Flu at the Zoo.” Funded by USDA animal care emergency programs and facilitated through the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, the goals of the exercise were to enhance preparedness and communication among zoological personnel in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri in response to a simulated outbreak of HPAI in their facilities. This exercise also allowed evaluation and updating of the USDA/Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) HPAI Outbreak Management Plan. This plan was designed to be used as a guidance document for regulatory agencies when dealing with HPAI in a zoological facility.
Developed using Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) guidelines, the exercise brought together zoological personnel with USDA (animal care, veterinary services, wildlife services), state animal health officials, public health, academics, and other stakeholders. HSEEP exercise structure was chosen as it promotes a standardized set of measures for exercise evaluation.
This presentation will discuss and evaluate the exercise structure and highlight lessons learned. While the scenario was developed to examine HPAI preparedness and response for the managed wildlife community, this exercise fulfilled the all-hazards approach to response to any infectious disease outbreak involving animals and/or humans associated with a zoological facility.
The authors acknowledge the “Flu at the Zoo” planning team members and the Illinois Farm Bureau, Bloomington, Illinois, for their contributions to this exercise.