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K-State Today

February 7, 2018

National Agricultural Biosecurity Center conducts animal disease response training for College of Veterinary Medicine students

Submitted by Sarah Hancock


The National Agricultural Biosecurity Center conducted an animal disease response training for 28 students from the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine on Feb. 3. The awareness-level course is designed to cover many aspects of foreign animal disease response, including biosecurity, quarantine, cleaning and disinfection, depopulation and disposal, and proper use of personal protective equipment.

The center offered 11 animal disease response training sessions in Kansas and Nebraska in 2017 and has four more scheduled so far in 2018. The training targets nontraditional agricultural first responders such as firefighters, public health officials, law enforcement and emergency medical technicians as well as veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Bringing many professions together helps individuals better understand their roles in the response to an animal disease outbreak. In this most recent training, the center's staff concentrated on what veterinarians need to know about interacting with other responders. Ken Burton, program director at the center, was pleased that students were willing to spend a weekend day learning about animal disease response and that representatives from all four years of the curriculum were in attendance.

"The students recognize that, as future veterinarians, no matter what field they might pursue within the profession, they will have the opportunity to assist should a high-consequence animal disease outbreak occur," Burton said.

In addition to future veterinarians, Cody Patterson from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Manhattan, and Peggy Schmidt, associate dean for academic programs and student affairs for the College of Veterinary Medicine, also attended. Justin Smith, Kansas animal health commissioner, and David Hogg, deputy emergency management coordinator from the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health, also provided students with information concerning the many animal disease response programs and volunteer opportunities provided by the Kansas Division of Animal Health.

According to Schmidt, the information was valuable for students.

"Veterinarians are not trained solely as experts in animal health — we possess comparative medicine, public health, and population health knowledge and skills that assist nontraditional agricultural first responders who find themselves in animal disease outbreak situations," Schmidt said. "Because of the animal disease response training session, these students are now aware of the role they are uniquely equipped to play in these situations after graduation."

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