MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT)– Tuesday marks day two of the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s animal disease response preparedness exercises.
A full-scale emergency response day will be created to mimic an animal disease epidemic. Meaning staff will be working through response decisions, fake, but realistic, press conferences and social media.
This all comes in the midst of a billion dollar construction project in Manhattan, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
This will protect against foreign animal diseases that may come to the us and create vaccines.
One of the most concerned diseases that facility thinks they will be looking at when it is fully functioning, in as early as 2022, will be foot and mouth disease.
That disease is what this exercise will be practicing with as well.
“Everybody has a role and responsibility so you can contain the event as quickly as possible, because with any sort of disease situation, the faster you can contain it, you’re going to be a lot more effective in stopping it,” NBAF liaison Ron Trewyn said.
Foot and mouth disease is not a risk to humans, but would be devastating to the economy.
That’s another reason why the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will be so important because they are not only studying diseases that protect us, but also ways to protect our economy.“It would be a huge huge problem, exports could stop, economically, it could be disastrous,” Trewyn said. “So studying and figuring out how do you mitigate that threat if and when they get here so its really to protect agriculture as much as anything else.”
What is a really unique to this facility is that Manhattan will be home to the only NBAF facility in America.
The current facility is in New York and will be shut down once it opens here, which Trewyn said is on track and maybe even a little ahead of schedule.
It’s also important to note, Trewyn said, there has never been a release of diseases in any modern bio containment facility, like the one being built in Manhattan.