PIADC has protected America’s livestock from foreign animal diseases for almost 60 years
Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) is the only laboratory in the nation that can work on high-consequence foreign animal diseases. The laboratory helps protect U.S. livestock from the accidental or intentional introduction of foreign animal diseases that can seriously threaten livestock industries, food safety, economy and way of life.
Plum Island Animal Disease Center Begins
After the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) from the United States in 1929, there were no facilities in the country with the authority or the ability to work with this highly contagious virus. An outbreak of FMD in Mexico in December 1946 created the sense of emergency that prompted Congress to authorize the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry, to construct a facility on an offshore location to study the disease. It took another outbreak of FMD, this time in Canada in 1952, for Congress to appropriate the necessary funds for the new laboratory.
On July 1, 1954, just as the construction of the new laboratory Building 101 was taking place, the Army officially transferred the property of Plum Island to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
In 1984, the diagnostic and training missions at PIADC were transferred from ARS to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The new unit, the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, became one of several laboratories of the National Veterinary Services Laboratories, which are headquartered in Ames, Iowa.
In 2002, PIADC operations were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS also established scientific programs to work in partnership with the USDA in developing new vaccines and diagnostic tests to respond and control outbreaks of foreign animal diseases.
USDA and DHS Working in Collaboration at PIADC
The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit conducts basic and applied research to prevent, control and recover from foreign animal diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever and African swine fever. Research is conducted to better understand the pathogenesis, host pathogen interaction and immunology of these diseases in livestock. The goal is to develop rapid laboratory diagnostic tests and faster-acting, safe vaccines and biotherapeutics.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory provides confirmatory laboratory diagnostic testing and technologies for surveillance, detection, response and recovery from high-threat foreign animal diseases for the nation. The agency also conducts foreign animal disease training for state and federal veterinarians who are the first responders for potential foreign animal disease outbreaks in the U.S. and maintains the North American Vaccine Bank.
The DHS Science & Technology Directorate is responsible for operational management of PIADC. DHS also conducts scientific programs through the Targeted Advanced Development Branch in partnership with ARS and industry for the advanced development of vaccines and other biological countermeasures required for an effective response to an outbreak of a foreign animal disease in the U.S. DHS also works with APHIS in the development of new laboratory diagnostic tests required for the identification and response to foreign animal disease outbreaks.