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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999;894:48-67.

Safeguarding production agriculture and natural ecosystems against biological terrorism. A U.S. Department of Agriculture emergency response framework.

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United States Department of Agriculture, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27606-5202, USA.


Foreign pest introductions and outbreaks represent threats to agricultural productivity and ecosystems, and, thus, to the health and national security of the United States. It is advisable to identify relevant techniques and bring all appropriate strategies to bear on the problem of controlling accidentally and intentionally introduced pest outbreaks. Recent political shifts indicate that the U.S. may be at increased risk for biological terrorism. The existing emergency-response strategies of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) will evolve to expand activities in coordination with other emergency management agencies. APHIS will evolve its information superstructure to include extensive application of simulation models for forecasting, meteorological databases and analysis, systems analysis, geographic information systems, satellite image analysis, remote sensing, and the training of specialized cadres within the emergency-response framework capable of managing the necessary information processing and analysis. Finally, the threat of key pests ranked according to perceived risk will be assessed with mathematical models and "what-if" scenarios analyzed to determine impact and mitigation practices. An infrastructure will be maintained that periodically surveys ports and inland regions for the presence of exotic pest threats and will identify trend abnormalities. This survey and monitoring effort will include cooperation from industry groups, federal and state organizations, and academic institutions.

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