Purdue News

February 13, 2006

Emergency preparedness a click away at Purdue biosecurity site

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Preparedness is the name of the game when it comes to dealing with biosecurity emergencies, and a Purdue University Web site just gave the animal emergency community a leg up.

"We want this to be a one-stop shop for people looking for information about animal biosecurity," said Sandy Amass, associate professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Purdue and director of the National Biosecurity Resource Center for Animal Health Emergencies.

The site is full of information about preventing and dealing with animal biosecurity issues, such as disease outbreaks. It has public areas that contain information about community planning, pet preparedness and a database of disinfectants and what diseases they protect against. A secure section of the site hosts a database of equipment for emergency responders Indiana.

One of the site's most popular tools is the disinfectant database.

"Even the human medical community has been visiting this part of the site," Amass said. That's because doctors have found that the database is a quick reference tool that tells them which disinfectants clean up which diseases.

The database lists more than 100 different disinfectants and allows a user to search by disease or pathogen, disinfectant class or manufacturer to find an appropriate disinfectant.

"If I needed to clean something and I was dealing with a specific disease, I could rapidly screen disinfectants. It even tells me where I can order from," Amass said.

Leon Thacker, director of the Purdue/Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratories, said the site is up to date, convenient to navigate and contains a wealth of information.

"This site has beneficial information for professionals, producers and lay people on a day-to-day basis and also has information they can use if a catastrophic event affecting animal health occurred," he said.

In the event of an Indiana emergency the county's appointed animal biosecurity coordinator could access a set of databases that contain lists of equipment, where it's located, and contact information.

"Let’s say I'm in Carroll County and I needed a backhoe," Amass said. "I could select backhoe, then click, and the database gives me a list of people in Carroll County who’ve volunteered their backhoes in case of an emergency."

Amass said a partnership with the Indiana Board of Animal Health was instrumental to securing contacts for much of the equipment.

"Many of these contacts came about because of the animal ID program," she said.

The site has resources for more than just animal emergencies. For example, with a few clicks of the mouse livestock producers can bring up a list of truck-washing companies, including what type of water they use and if they clean livestock trailers.

"In the past trucks carrying sick or dead animals or birds from a quarantined area have spread the disease to other areas." Thacker said. "Truck washing is one more way to help prevent the spread of catastrophic animal diseases."

The livestock section also tackles topics such as boot disinfection and carcass-disposal options and links to state and federal government documents governing animals.

"We have an updating feed at the top that scrolls the top five animal stories,” Amass said. "There's also information about hot topics like avian influenza."

Amass said veterinary professionals also may find the site useful. "It lists reportable diseases by state and has pictures of different animal diseases," she said.

While The National Biosecurity Resource Center is already a large library of data, its creators aren’t finished.

"Our goal is to keep expanding the resources to help people meet animal and human emergencies," Amass said.

Plans are in the works for the site to host distance-education courses for Extension personnel, emergency responders and graduate students.

Writer: Kay Hagen, (765) 494-6682, kjh@purdue.edu

Sources: Sandy Amass, (765) 494-8052, amasss@purdue.edu

Leon Thacker, (765) 494-7440, thackerl@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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