Critical Issues: Emerging and New Plant and Animal Pests and Diseases program
Since 2003, NIFA’ Critical Issues: Emerging and New Plant and Animal Pests and Diseases (CI) grant program has funded high-priority, time-sensitive, research addressing emerging and re-emerging animal (and plant) diseases.
In 2007, CI funds were rapidly mobilized to support study of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), a high-mortality disease of wild, freshwater, bony fishes which has caused large die-offs in the Great Lakes region. These die-offs prompted a stop-movement order by USDA-APHIS, involving nine northeastern/northcentral states, which has had a significant effect on a variety of region’s fishery-based businesses. A total of approximately $200,000 was awarded to two laboratories to develop improved diagnostic tests and better understand the potential threat this virus may pose to the two most significant US farm-gate aquaculture species, catfish and trout.
In 2008, the program funded one study aimed at uncovering the causative agent(s) responsible for a highly contagious, high-mortality swine disease -- Porcine High Fever Disease or PHFD -- that has severely impacted swine production in several Pacific rim countries, including China and Vietnam. Preliminary studies suggest this disease could represent a significant threat to the US swine industry. The program also funded two animal health modeling studies to develop decision making tools to help APHIS regulators analyze the potential risks and benefits of implementing a national Johne’s vaccination strategy. A total of ~$600,000 was awarded in 2008 to support these three studies.
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