The United States Department of Agriculture and the Zoo Animal Health Network: A Model for Government Collaboration with Zoos and Aquariums
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012
Jeleen A. Briscoe1, VMD, DABVP (Avian); Steve Olson2; Kevin Dennison3, DVM; Yvonne Nadler4, DVM, MPH
1Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care Emergency Programs, United States Department of Agriculture, Riverdale, MD, USA; 2Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Governmental Affairs Department, Silver Spring, MD, USA; 3Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care Emergency Programs, United States Department of Agriculture, Fort Collins, CO, USA; 4Department of Conservation and Science, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, USA
Since 2007, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) have collaborated under the Zoo Animal Health Network (ZAHN) umbrella on multiple projects supporting preparedness for all-hazards emergencies at zoological institutions. Included in these projects is a pilot surveillance program for highly pathogenic avian influenza in three zoos, animated online training materials for zoological and governmental personnel on surveillance for influenzas, and extensive, multi-annexed best practice guidance for emergency planning for the zoological community. Information and materials from these projects are all accessible online through http://www.zooanimalhealthnetwork.org (VIN editor: This link is no longer usable). In addition to these projects, the USDA and AZA facilitated two tabletop exercises this past year linking zoos with their local first responders, state and federal agricultural and public health officials, and livestock industry representatives. The first exercise, called the “Zoo Foreign Animal Disease Coordination Exercise” and orchestrated by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, simulated a national outbreak of foot and mouth disease and involved 10 Kansas zoos. The second exercise, called “Flu at the Zoo” and run by the University of Illinois, drew participants from 16 zoos in and around Illinois and officials from 10 states and the District of Columbia and simulated an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza that began in wildlife and spread to zoo animals and then zoo staff. As funding streams diminish for the federal government and zoological institutions, collaborative projects such as these become the model for all parties to accomplish mutually beneficial goals for zoological all-hazards emergency preparedness.