In May, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed a new National List of Reportable Animal Diseases (NLRAD) to further strengthen the country’s ability to detect, respond to and control animal diseases. The list would provide a consolidated, comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure federal and state animal health officials quickly receive information about potential cases of communicable animal diseases, the agency explained.
In joint comments submitted to APHIS this week, NPPC, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) and the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) said while they support the establishment of a NLRAD that consists of named animal diseases and conditions with established case definitions, a separate portal should be created to collect voluntary reports of suspicious animal health events.
“NPPC, AASV and SHIC concur with APHIS that under-reporting of notifiable animal diseases within the United States can have significant domestic and international ramifications. However, it must be acknowledged that false or premature reports can similarly have damaging consequences. For these reasons, animal health professionals, or indeed any individuals other than veterinarians, should not be obligated to report under the NLRAD when they are not credentialled to make a diagnosis of a specific animal disease,” the groups wrote.
The groups also noted they can only support mandating state reporting of monitored animal diseases if both APHIS and states have the necessary resources to compile and transmit this information electronically, and if APHIS has the resources to analyze the information when making it publicly available.