Fight FMD in England
Report heard from two Illinois alumni who
helped monitor the foot and mouth disease outbreak in England last spring.
Dr. Ron Zaidlicz
('76), a veterinarian with the Animal Care Regional Office in Raleigh,
N.C., regularly posted messages to his family and colleagues back home
while he served. These have been published with photos as "A Veterinarian's
E-Mail Diary from the FMD Outbreak in the UK" in Inside APHIS, available
online at (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/inside_aphis/featureZaidlicz.html).
Dr. Lorna Lanman
('73) went to England in her role as part of the West Coast Veterinary
Medical Assistant Team. These teams are part of the U.S. Public Health
Service/Office of Emergency Preparedness/National Disaster Medical Systems.
Now the administrative officer of the team, Dr. Lanman became involved
with VMAT when she moved to Arizona after having practiced for more
than 20 years in Illinois.
Her work with VMAT
has taken her to North Carolina following Hurricane Floyd, to Los Alamos,
N.M., during forest fires, to Anchorage, Ala., for the World Special
Olympic Games, and to Los Angeles during the Democratic National Convention
as veterinarian to the explosive detection canines. Dr. Lanman also
serves as president of the American Academy on Veterinary Disaster Medicine.
Following are excerpts
from her account of her time in England.
Dr. Lorna Lanman ('73)
examines a lamb's mouth for lesions.
I joined the USDA
and flew to London on April 25, 2001. My group of six was sent to Newcastle,
in beautiful Northumberland, England, an area of many castles, Hadrian's
Wall, and stone fences...
When we arrived
in Newcastle, we were given about 4 hours of concentrated instruction,
a car, all of our equipment, and ordered to report at a newly established
office for "clean" vets.
We had three great
fears: one of looking for a disease that we had never seen before, one
of finding the disease and having to destroy a farmer's animals, and
the worst fear of surviving our own driving on the left side of the
road. We were given no instruction on the latter, other than "look right,
The next day, we
were given our farms to inspect, maps to get us there, and off we went.
Our jobs as Temporary Veterinary Inspectors were to travel to farms
and inspect the animals for the disease, entering onto a farm only after
complete biosecurity measures were followed, in other words, we disinfected
ourselves from head to toe.
We wore Tyvek suits,
with waterproof rubber suits over the Tyvek, rubber gloves, rubber boots
(Wellies) and carried our cell phones, GPS units, all our surgical supplies,
our waterproof notebooks and pencils in Ziplock bags. We left our cars
on the road and walked the sometimes half-mile and sometimes 2-mile
lanes to the farm buildings.
If we were lucky
the farmer had a 4-wheeler and a great sheep dog ... if we were lucky!
Otherwise, examining the sheep and cattle on the farm might involve
walking many miles. We endured many long days, sometimes 15 hours a
day, examining the flocks and herds for lesions of FMD.
After about 10
days of this, I made a few connections and transferred to the Disease
Dr. Lanman (left) with the licensing officials in the Disease Control
I asked to learn
more about the disposal of the carcasses, since this is a great concern
of ours in the U.S., so they allowed me to travel with two Army majors
to two of the large burial sites where thousands of carcasses were being
buried. I interviewed each of the site managers and took digital pictures
of the sites.
When we arrived
in England in April, they were just changing their policy from burning
or burying the carcasses on the farms to taking them to these large
burial sites. I was also allowed to travel to Carlisle, in Cumbria,
the area of the worst of the outbreak...
It was not an
easy task, watching and/or participating in the killing of 1,000 lambs,
700 ewes, and 400 head of cattle. The licensed slaughtermen culled the
cattle, ewes, and older lambs with stun guns followed by pithing to
confirm the death of the animals. We euthanized the younger lambs by
intracardiac injection of a euthanasia solution. There were three veterinarians,
two veterinary students, and four licensed slaughtermen, plus three
herdsmen helpers working over 6 hours to destroy all that family's breeding
stock and successful lambing crop of 1,700 animals.
This would only
be the beginning of eradicating the disease from this farm. They would
next have the Clean and Disinfection crew come in two times, then have
to wait up to 8 weeks before restocking could be thought about, and
then only if the 3 kilometer zone around their farm was considered free
of the virus. ...
There were so many
stories and so many tragedies, I can only imagine how many families
will have been affected, as there are nearly 4 million animals slaughtered,
and most farms have 20 to 2,000 animals.
The entire nation
suffered not only in lost tourist industry, but in loss of free trade
status of exporting farm products, and the sheer cost of eradicating
the disease. I heard an estimate that FMD had cost the UK nearly $20
billion since February 23.
in going to England were certainly to assist the UK veterinarians in
eradicating this virus from their country, but also to gain as much
knowledge as possible, both what to do and what not to do, should the
USDA and VMAT be called upon to assist our country in responding to
such a devastating disaster. My month-long experience allowed me to
understand not only how the disease affects the different species of
animals, but also how the disease affects the farmers, their families,
their towns, and their country.
unique knowledge all of us veterinarians gained in the UK will never
need to be put to use in this country.